NEW YORK West Coast
ferrous scrap export prices for containerized shipments have
jumped about $10 per tonne in the past two weeks, with
exporters aiming even higher.
Sources cited a tight scrap
supply, lack of supplier interest in lower tags and recent
increases in domestic scrap prices in China and Japan as some
of the factors driving up tags.
U.S. exporters and buyers for
some East Asian mills said that containerized sales to Taiwan
of an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt scrap have been
concluded at between $365 and $370 per tonne, up $10 from
mid-December levels (
amm.com, Dec. 14).
However, U.S. exporters
offer prices are trending closer to the $380-per-tonne level,
according to some sources.
"The container market continues
to gain strength as demand outstrips supply," one U.S. exporter
said. "I think that will be indicative of the U.S. domestic
market as well in January: No $50 increases, but a modest
uptick in prices."
A buyer for one Chinese scrap
consumer said he had acquired containerized scrap at $367 and
$368 per tonne in the past week, while a week earlier "the
buying price was $360."
"There is certainly a flurry of
inquiries with improved pricing," said a second exporter
source, who reported inquiries in a wide range of $340 to $355
per tonne f.a.s. Long Beach, Calif. Most sources, however,
reported a narrower range of $345 to $350 per tonne f.a.s.
"There are numerous inquiries
from Taiwan and Vietnam for heavy melt. Vietnam and Malaysia
have been quite viable for No. 2 bundles, although on a limited
basis," the second exporter said. "I am not sure if the price
increase is real or Asian buyers are merely jockeying for
position to ensure their tonnage before and shortly after Lunar
New Year observances in early February. Remember, there will
most likely be a few weeks lag in business and shipping
at different times in January."
A Taiwanese steel mill
reportedly received a quote of $387 per tonne, which some
suggested was too high as domestic rebar prices in Taiwan are
at about the same price level.
A third exporter source said
that the container market would rise, since scrap supply is
tighter than demand and the rebar price in Taiwan is trending
Some exporters expressed
concerns over an imminent $50-per-tonne congestion fee
surcharge for containerized shipments starting in January,
which one source claimed "will ruin the container business."
The fee "will place many of the smaller (and) independent
brokers or traders on the sidelines. Im sure that (bigger
exporters) are relishing the thought that container trade may
be kicked in the shins for a while," he said.
Meanwhile, one market
participant said the Taiwanese market is abuzz with a rumor of
a bulk sale out of the United States to Taiwan at about $405
per tonne c.i.f. on a No. 1 heavy melt basis.
The sale, if confirmed, is on
par with recent bulk sales of HMS 1&2 (80:20) to China
concluded in range of $400 to $405 per tonne (
amm.com, Dec. 27).