NEW YORK Strong demand
for ferrous scrap from Taiwan and China and a big rebound in
iron ore prices have sent West Coast export tags for
containerized scrap shipments soaring more than $25 per tonne
in the past two weeks.
Chinas return to U.S.
shores has shored up market confidence in higher prices as
offers continue to rise, according to market participants.
Several sources reported export
sales of containerized shipments of an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and
No. 2 heavy melt over the past five days in a range of $390 to
$395 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan, up from late-December sales
concluded at $365 to $370 per tonne (amm.com, Dec.
One exporter said prices jumped
an additional $5 on Tuesday to $400 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan,
although no transactions were confirmed at that level. "They
are actually over $400 now for containers, so it is up about
$55 since the low point," he said.
However, a buyer for one
Taiwanese producer said that he had yet to trade at $395 per
Market sources attributed the
rapid increase in prices to two key factors.
"I think the increase is because
iron ore went up $60 a tonne," a second exporter said, echoing
a common market opinion on one of two key drivers.
The other critical factor has
been a run-up in rebar prices in Taiwan, a third exporter said.
"Rebar sales are up again. You cant make rebar without
"Taiwan is paying as high as
$390 to $395 per tonne," a fifth source said. "Increased demand
from the mills is mainly causing this run-up. A lot of them had
slowed down on buying towards the end of the year to keep low
inventories and now are trying to replenish. South Korea is
mainly looking for plate and structural and busheling at $405
per tonne to main ports."
A sixth export source said that
seasonal winter trends have affected the United States and
Asia. "I suspect overseas mills thought prices would swoon in
late November akin to the late autumn, but that did not
materialize, leaving them with skimpy inventories," he said.
"Iron ore jumps up (and) scrap intake (is) off as much as 25
percent, depending on the region, all resulting in the
$25-per-tonne jump in the last 10 days."
Meanwhile, sources said U.S.
exporters also have increased bulk offer prices to China and
Taiwan, with offers reported in a range of $425 to $435 per
tonne for HMS 1&2 (80:20).
"No one has bought at that, but
that is what theyre asking," another source said.