PITTSBURGH U.S. ferrous scrap exports rose in December after three consecutive monthly declines, largely due to a surge in demand from Malaysia and China.
Exports totaled 1,605,171 tonnes in December, up 16.1 percent from 1,382,778 tonnes the previous month, according to the latest U.S. Commerce Department data. It was the first increase since August, when exports rose 7.4 percent to 2,080,456 tonnes (amm.com, Oct. 19), although they still trailed by 3.4 percent the year-earlier total of 1,661,488 tonnes.
Malaysias intake from U.S. ferrous scrap suppliers soared to 153,710 tonnes in December from 31,658 tonnes in November and just 1,273 tonnes a year earlier, and shipments to China climbed to 198,856 tonnes, up 93.4 percent from 102,807 tonnes in November and 5.6 percent ahead of 188,371 tonnes in December 2011.
Also registering gains in December were Taiwan, which took 270,646 tonnes, up 17.5 percent from 230,257 tonnes in November; Canada at 75,118 tonnes (up 32.5 percent from 56,694 tonnes); and Mexico at 76,099 tonnes (up 15.6 percent from 65,851 tonnes).
While Turkey remained the top buyer in December, its intake of U.S. ferrous scrap fell to 415,514 tonnes, down 11.6 percent from 470,279 tonnes the previous month and 11.9 percent lower than 471,681 tonnes a year earlier.
South Korea, a key player in the export market, took 94,468 tonnes in December, down 14.7 percent from 110,799 tonnes in November and 36.9 percent below 149,603 tonnes in December 2011, after peaking at 352,106 tonnes in March.
Shredded accounted for the lions share of Decembers ferrous scrap exports at 547,857 tonnes34.1 percent of total shipmentsup 16.9 percent from 468,679 tonnes in November and 0.2 percent higher than 546,671 tonnes a year earlier.
No. 1 heavy melt exports totaled 473,206 tonnes (29.5 percent of total exports in December), up 15.8 percent from 408,684 tonnes the previous month but down 14.9 percent from 556,377 tonnes in December 2011.
U.S. ferrous scrap exports totaled 21,355,943 tonnes last year, down 12.1 percent from 24,295,923 tonnes in 2011. Shredded scrap accounted for 30.7 percent of the total, although the volume was down 21.8 percent to 6,564,237 tonnes. No. 1 heavy melt exports, which accounted for 34.3 percent of total ferrous scrap exports, fell 9 percent to 7,330,933 tones.