NEW YORK Prices for
containerized ferrous scrap exported from the West Coast fell
this past week due to a drop in demand from buyers in key
consumer markets like Taiwan, South Korea and China, who
continue to seek prices well below U.S. offers.
Taiwanese mill bids for
containerized scrap ranged between $380 and $385 per tonne
c.f.r. for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt this past
week, sources said, down $5 per tonne from the previous
"West Coast markets are
certainly weakening. Taiwan and Korea are skittish about
jumping in," one scrap exporter said. Meanwhile, U.S. offers
were at around $360 f.a.s. Long Beach, with buyers aiming
lower, he said.
"Dealers are trying to resist
taking any new orders, but many seem conscious that there is no
real demand to substantiate these levels," he added.
Some sources said offers for
bulk shipments from the West Coast stood at around $425 per
tonne c.i.f. China or South Korea for HMS 1&2 (80:20) this
past week, with buyer bids reportedly $15 below that level.
"The Chinese seem to be willing
buyers at levels of $410 (for) heavy melt. Korea would prefer
to buy at $415 and Vietnam wants to buy at the same level," a
second source said. "Taiwan offers (for containerized scrap)
are at $390, but buyers (are) looking for $380 to $385."
A scrap buyer for a Taiwanese
steel producer confirmed that there had been little interest in
scrap imports from the country, while a fourth source
attributed the pullback to a struggling finished product market
in that region.
"Taiwanese mill scrap prices are
dependent on their rebar demand, which remains anemic. Of
course, scrap availability will become more challenging should
U.S. construction numbers continue to improve."
"It cant be easy to be a
rebar mill in Taiwan right now (with the) threat of Chinese
rebar exports vs. potentially rising import scrap costs," the
fourth source added.
Scrap import costs could rise if
container shipping lines follow through with a freight rate
increase on April 1, according to several sources.
West Coast exporters face a $100
freight price hike on 20-foot containers and a $200 increase on
40-foot containers based on indications from shippers, sources
However, a couple of exporters
said shipping lines might not succeed in achieving those
"I keep hearing about container
rate increases, but as usual most steamship lines are saying
yes in public but discounting in private, yielding even money.
Adding $200 per container ($10 per tonne) ocean freight would
slow down new sales even more," the first source said.
Another exporter said shippers
have yet to announce any firm rate changes.
"Every year the shippers propose
the same rate hikes. After negotiations, those increases are
usually $25 at best. Negotiations are still under way. (There
are) no new rates yet," he said.