NEW YORK Nonferrous scrap exports were basically flat in December, although domestic traders noted continued demand from consumers in China and India.
"Weve noticed that traders in India appear to be looking for material," one lead scrap trader told AMM. "It sounds like their economy has improved and they are now ready to enter the market in a meaningful way."
Lead scrap exports strengthened to 2,482 short tons in December, up 32.7 percent from 1,870 tons in November, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Also posting gains were aluminum and zinc, increasing 0.7 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.
Aluminum scrap exports totaled 157,112 tons in December compared with 156,019 tons a month earlier, while zinc scrap exports reached 10,910 tons vs. 9,943 tons in the same comparison.
However, the gains werent enough to boost the overall export tally, with nonferrous scrap exports for the grades tracked by AMM edging 0.1 percent lower to 281,507 short tons in December from 281,850 tons a month earlier.
Copper scrap exports dipped 0.9 percent to 107,004 tons from 107,929 tons a month earlier, although market participants noted strong demand from Chinese consumers.
"Things seem to tight here. ... People are overpaying to get material," one copper scrap trader said. "The rest of the world, however, seems to be doing pretty well. I dont have to chase down spreads because I can ship product internationally."
Nickel scrap exports dropped 4.5 percent to 2,134 tons from 2,235 tons in November, and used beverage cans (UBCs) plummeted 51.6 percent to 1,865 tons in December from 3,854 tons a month earlier.
Nonferrous scrap exports for the year totaled 3,647,505 tons, down 3.2 percent from 3,768,902 tons in 2011.