NEW YORK West Coast
export prices for containerized ferrous scrap are on a gradual
incline due to a renewed uptick in demand from Taiwan.
Market participants said that a
long lull in interest from mill buyers in Taiwan gave way to
better market conditions this past week after mills in the
region beat down the market too hard and rebar prices in Taiwan
recorded a little boost.
Sources said prices have
reclaimed about $5 per tonne from mid-April levels (
amm.com, April 16), with trades reported this past
week in a range of $355 to $360 per tonne for an 80/20 mix of
No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt delivered to Taiwan.
At the moment, Taiwan appears to
be the sole supporter of the West Coast scrap export market, as
South Korean consumers continue to focus on cheaper imports
from Japan, buoyed by a favorable yen, and demand from China
remains depressed, sources said.
"The container market has
stabilized and increased slightly in the last week. Sales are
back over the $360 mark and should be around $365, although
offers vary," a source at one large exporter said.
The slight rise in prices this
past week follows a sharp fall in West Coast ferrous scrap
export prices for containerized scrap in early April.
"Once again, the Taiwanese
dropped prices too low," the exporter said. "They have a
practice of driving the price down until it affects flow. In
addition, the rebar market drives the scrap purchase price.
Rebar prices (in Taiwan) rebounded slightly, pulling the scrap
price with it," he said, adding that China and Korea have not
been major factors in container sales.
Other U.S. sources said that
they had yet to record sales at prices as high as $360 per
tonne, with many reporting that Taiwanese bids to their
companies were still at around $355 per tonne.
A second West Coast exporter
said that the market had offered mixed signals this past
"I understand that a major yard
tendered an offer for HMS 1&2 (80:20) containerized to
Kaohsiung (Taiwan) that was rejected and not countered," he
said. "However, they have increased buying prices for HMS so
they could fill an order."
But a market participant
familiar with this particular development told AMM
that the major yard had only increased intracompany buying
prices to secure scrap from one of its own yards to fill an
existing order. The source said that the major yard did not
raise buying prices for heavy melt.
"In this market, (the company
is) trying to lower prices. (It) temporarily raised an
interbranch price to fill an order, but there were no increases
to outside suppliers," he said.
The second exporter also said
that a large trading company has increased container buying
along the West Coast for limited tonnages for heavy melt and
plate and structural scrap.
"Bookings indicate that the
container ship is destined to three Chin(ese) East Coast ports
(and the vessel is) not stopping in Taiwan or Korea," he
The exporter said that he was
still looking for demand for new steel to merit any price
increases for scrap.
"I see Asian and U.S. steel
mills increasing new steel prices only to discount those
increases the next day," he said. "Econ 101 is still the rule:
there must be demand to support the prices. Yes, scrap is in
short supply, but there must be demand to balance the
Meanwhile, a source in China
confirmed that demand from the country was still weak.
"These days, the market is
really soft and there is hardly any news about Chinese
imports," he said.
Meanwhile, sources said that the bulk market remains quiet,
with some offers, no takers and bids from South Korea in a
range of $385 to $388 per tonne c.i.f. for HMS 1&2