NEW YORK Prices for U.S. bulk ferrous scrap exports mostly moved sideways over the past week, with Turkey and China showing no buying interest.
Only one bulk cargo sale was reported from the East Coast with a final destination of Vietnam rather than Turkey, typically the sole destination for East Coast bulk cargoes (amm.com, Jan. 18).
Current bids from Turkish mills are at $400 per tonne c.i.f. Turkey for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt, with U.S. exporters offering the same mix in a range of $405 to $410 per tonne, depending on port of origin and volume, one market participant said.
"Buyers have to give a little something so we might see trading midweek," he said.
The overall export market has been "dead quiet," a second exporter said. "Asia (is) not picking up (cargoes), and Turkey is holding back on coming back into the market. I guess HMS 1&2 (80:20) should still be around the $405 level, but no action."
A source in Turkey put offers from the United States at the $405-per-tonne level, with some European offers at $390 per tonne for heavy melt.
Rebar sales prices were flat and could possibly be under pressure, causing the current impasse, the source said.
"There has been no East Coast activity that we know of in the last five to six working days," a fourth source said. "Turks are trying to take the price down by $5 but (are) finding much resistance. Additionally, we are seeing the charter market beginning to firm up. Not many vessels (are) quoting for relatively prompt positions."
With no bulk cargo sales to Turkey and just one shipment to Vietnam at a price of about $397 per tonne c.i.f. on an HMS 1&2 (80:20) basis, weekly f.o.b. values on the East Coast slipped about 50 cents per tonne.
AMMs East Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled at $383.94 per tonne f.o.b. New York on Jan. 22, down 0.1 percent from $384.47 per tonne last week.
On the West Coast, market sources confirmed only one bulk cargo sale from California to Vietnam.
The lone sale sent AMMS West Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS 1&2 (80:20) a tad higher to $388.90 per tonne f.o.b. Los Angeles, a 0.3-percent increase from the last weeks $387.77 per tonne.
Uncertainty as to where the next West Coast bulk sale would trade stemmed from a recent slide in containerized scrap export prices (amm.com, Jan. 18), sources said.
"Nobody has repealed the law of supply and demand. Stingy scrap availability seems to have established a floor, and tepid mill sales seem to have established a ceiling," one West Coast source said.
"Prices are dropping a bit more on the West Coast," another source added.
"China covered most cargoes before Chinese New Year. Taiwan and Korea dropped prices internally as import traders had to sell their long positions into a falling market and the mills bought it cheaper," he said. "Tokyo raised prices due to a weaker yen, and thus new export opportunities for Japanese finished product. So unlike other months, Japanese internal scrap is up and most of the other Asian markets down."