NEW YORK Export prices
for containerized ferrous scrap on the West Coast are under
pressure after peaking earlier in the past week.
Export prices enjoyed an uptick
over the past few weeks due to a surge in demand from buyers in
China and Taiwan who were looking to fill inventories ahead of
a seasonal slowdown due to the Chinese New Year holiday in
Market participants said prices
peaked at $402 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan for an 80/20 mix of No.
1 and No. 2 heavy melt before shedding $5 on Jan. 17 to a range
of $390 to $395 per tonne.
Sources said Jan. 18 that prices
remained under pressure, with some reporting a bid and offer
range of $380 to $385 per tonne while others insisted that
transacted prices were still between $390 and $395 per
One large-volume exporter said
quoted prices had dropped to a range of $380 to $385 per tonne
on Jan. 18 after trekking $10 higher the previous day. The
source said rebar prices in Taiwan could not withstand such
high scrap prices, and suggested that following the rapid
decline in export prices the market would find a level in the
new price range.
A second exporter said he heard
that prices had dropped $10 overnight to a range of $380 to
$385 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan. "I expect prices to fall more
because of the Chinese New Year in early February. Scrap
inflows are still tight but improving a little," he said.
Other sources, however, insisted
export tags had fallen to a range of $390 to $395 per tonne in
the past week, not lower, as some sources suggested.
"The last actual sales were in
the $390 to $395 range. New offers are closer to $390, although
no sales were made," a third source said. "Mills are trying to
bring the market down by waiting to buy, although rebar sales
did drop $10 per tonne."
Large- and small-volume
exporters often transact at different price levels, creating a
broad range, he said, with large-volume exporters typically at
the high end of the trading range.
A buyer for a Taiwanese producer
said transacted prices had dropped from peaks of $400 per tonne
to a range of $390 to $395 per tonne, prompted by a decline in
iron ore prices to $145 per tonne.
"Some of the decline could be
attributed to the Chinese New Year slowdown, but I believe a
lot of it is due to trading houses releasing large amounts of
their bought positions," a fifth source said. "I would say
prices are more in the $390-to-$395 range."
A sixth source said the price
declines came as no surprise to him. "I dont see why
scrap prices are as high as they are. ... Wheres the
support on new steel prices? I dont see enough demand for
new steel to justify any scrap price increases," he said.