NEW YORK Domestic prices
for shredded aluminum scrap, known as zorba, have weakened
slightly since the start of March, but sources told
AMM that higher demand and tighter supply kept tags
from falling further in step with exchange prices.
Picked-up prices for 90-percent
metallic units have slipped to 72 to 74 cents per pound, down
from 73 to 75 cents in the first week of February, market
"For us, its a domestic
product right now," one seller told AMM. "Prices have
weakened, but the domestic market is still pushing for higher
numbers, largely because of supply issues. Inbound flows have
been terrible, and bad weather has made it a lot more difficult
to acquire material."
"Weather affects shredder feed,
and that in turn affects zorba supply," a second seller said.
"Its basically like every other nonferrous grade out
there ... there just isnt enough of it."
Export prices for
zorbawhich along with its upgrade, twitch, serves as the
main feedstock for aluminum auto ingotsare 2 cents higher
than domestic tags, trading at between 74 and 76 cents per
pound, sources said.
Chinese demand for zorba is
still strong, although recent changes to Chinese scrap laws
have made exporting slightly more of a challenge, several
sources told AMM.
"The Chinese are definitely
getting stricter about the types or zorba they are taking," one
exporter said. "They used to be fine with circuit boards, but
the government is getting pickier with what is acceptable and
whats not. They are demanding a better product."
Despite stepped-up restrictions,
the Chinese market is still attractive to exporters. "If you
look at how much copper and aluminum has fallen off, zorba is
only off about 2 cents from last month," a second exporter
said. "The auto industry in China is booming, and there is
still strong demand for the product. Were making money
and we get paid in five to seven days, as opposed to 30 to 60
days for domestic shipments."
"Prices for zorba have come down
slightly, but certainly not as much as other aluminum scrap," a
third exporter said. "Thankfully, we dont have a problem
finding a market for it."