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South Korea retreat sinks US ferrous exports

Keywords: Tags  ferrous scrap, scrap exports, shredded, heavy melt, Commerce Department, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — U.S. ferrous scrap exports fell for a third consecutive month in November as South Korea continued to retreat from the market.

In a near-reversal of trends seen in October, exports to Turkey strengthened in November while interest from key Asian destinations like South Korea, Taiwan and India declined.

Exports totaled 1,382,778 tonnes in November, down 5.6 percent from 1,464,569 tonnes the previous month and 28.9 percent below 1,944,916 tonnes shipped abroad in November 2011, according to the latest U.S. Commerce Department data.

Rising scrap prices in November and the arrival of several previously booked cargoes in Korea prompted buyers there to drastically reduce deals with West Coast exporters. Exports to Korea dropped to 110,799 tonnes in November, down 54.3 percent from 242,288 tonnes in October and 54.2 percent from 242,081 tonnes in November 2011.

Sales to Taiwan slid to 230,257 tonnes in November, down 8.5 percent from the previous month, while deliveries to India slipped 4.1 percent to 89,671 tonnes.

Sales of No. 1 heavy melt felt the brunt of November’s volume loss, falling to 408,684 tonnes, down 19.7 percent from 508,952 tonnes the previous month and 30.5 percent from 588,066 tonnes a year earlier.

Turkey’s improved interest in shredded scrap helped lift overall November volumes of that grade to 468,679 tonnes, up 18.8 percent from 394,585 tonnes the previous month although 41.5 percent below 801,838 tonnes in November 2011. Turkey accounted for 170,219 tonnes of November’s shredded scrap exports, more than double the 81,394 tonnes it took in October.

Turkey’s intake of U.S. ferrous scrap totaled 470,279 tonnes in November, up 8.6 percent from 432,855 tonnes in October and 8.2 percent from 434,741 tonnes a year earlier.

U.S. ferrous scrap exports in the first 11 months of last year totaled 19,750,772 tons, down 12.7 percent from 22,634,435 tonnes in the same period in 2011, largely due to a 56.9-percent decline in shipments to China to 1,732,199 tonnes from 4,016,963 tonnes.

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