NEW YORK U.S. ferrous scrap exports in February rose marginally from the same month last year as Chinas return to the market helped compensate for lower shipments to other large consumers such as Canada, India, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey.
Exporters shipped nearly 1.89 million tonnes of ferrous scrap in February, up 1.5 percent from 1.86 million tonnes a year earlier and 23.2 percent ahead of 1.53 million tonnes in January, according to the latest U.S. Commerce Department data.
Better demand from China and Taiwan helped lift overall export volumes after a handful of the largest importers lowered their intake.
Sales to Taiwan provided the largest volume gain in February, rising 19.8 percent to 267,981 tonnes from 223,783 tonnes in the same month last year.
Chinese consumption of U.S. scrap increased to 237,078 tonnes in February, up 3.5 percent from 229,001 tonnes a year earlier and 81.3 percent from 130,751 tonnes in January.
However, most other major offshore consumers reined in their demand.
Exports to Thailand logged the largest year-on-year percentage drop to 5,176 tonnes in February, down 90.4 percent from 53,945 tonnes a year ago.
Exports to Turkey slipped 1 percent to 594,584 tonnes from 600,524 tonnes in February last year, while exports to South Korea dropped 25.7 percent to 229,259 tonnes from 308,671 tonnes in the same comparison.
Ferrous scrap sales to Canada fell 40.3 percent to 76,679 tonnes in February from 128,438 tonnes a year earlier, while sales to India dipped 3 percent to 67,563 tonnes from 69,622 tonnes.
Both heavy melt and shredded scrap exports lost some ground in February. Shredded exports dropped 3.6 percent to 566,135 tonnes from 587,427 tonnes a year earlier, while No. 1 heavy melt exports fell 12.6 percent to 597,335 tonnes from 683,557 tonnes in the same comparison.
However, significantly better performances by higher-priced grades helped overall volumes outperform last years levels. Plate and structural scrap exports nearly doubled to 162,908 tonnes in February from 84,134 tonnes a year ago, and exports of No. 1 bundles jumped 88.2 percent to 61,626 tonnes from 32,745 tonnes in February last year.