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East Coast Export Index slips as W. Coast firms

Keywords: Tags  ferrous scrap, export index, Sean Davidson

MONTERREY, Mexico — Thin demand from Turkey for East Coast ferrous scrap and sustained demand from Asia for West Coast scrap sent export prices on the two coasts in opposite directions.

A nearly $7-per-tonne decline in East Coast bulk export tags combined with an almost $3-per-tonne increase in West Coast export prices to restore the more than $10 premium West Coast exporters enjoyed over the East Coast many months ago.

Two bulk cargo sales were reportedly booked off the West Coast this past week as China and Vietnam each picked up a cargo.
Market participants said a U.S. exporter sold a 35,000-tonne cargo to China at about $426 per tonne c.i.f. China for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt. A second cargo of around 30,000 tonnes reportedly was sold to Vietnam at $10 per tonne above the China prices.

The two sales gave some upward support to AMM’s West Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS1&2 (80:20), which settled Monday at $391.81 per tonne f.o.b. Los Angeles, up 0.7 percent from $388.90 previously.

South Korean consumers, normally the most active buyers of West Coast scrap, remain conspicuously absent from the bulk market, sources said.

Meanwhile, only two East Coast bulk cargoes were reportedly sold to Turkey last week—both on Jan. 23 at identical prices to the same Turkish mill but from two different exporters (, Jan. 23).

Both sales were concluded at $401 per tonne c.i.f. Turkey for HMS 1&2 (80:20), with shredded selling at a $5 premium to heavy melt and bonus scrap selling at a $10 premium. The sales were between $4 and $6 lower than transactions earlier in the month, but a slight strengthening in bulk freight rates caused f.o.b. values to decline a tad further.

AMM’s East Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled Monday at $377.10 per tonne f.o.b. New York, down 1.8 percent from $383.94 previously.

One exporter speculated that East Coast prices could be under more pressure following a late sale from Britain on Jan. 25. “Today we heard that late last week (a Turkish mill) booked an HMS 80:20 cargo from the U.K. at $390 (per tonne). This represents a maximum of $395 for U.S. HMS 80:20, which is another $5 to $6 down from previous levels,” he said.

“This week is important. Mills were generally expected to restart booking cargoes for late February, (early) March shipment in this period. But given Turkish mills are having difficulty selling finished products, a couple of mills shutting down for two to four weeks for maintenance and some running in lower capacities, I think there is slim chance for Turkish mills to start buying this week. The more they delay, the more they will put pressure on the suppliers,” he said.

Other sources said they are still uncertain on where prices could head this week.

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