NEW YORK U.S. nonferrous scrap exports dropped significantly in the first quarter compared with the same period last year as aluminum and copper scrap struggled to secure demand.
Shipments abroad totaled 842,652 short tons in the first quarter, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department, down 9.7 percent from 932,826 tons a year earlier.
Aluminum scrap exports totaled 484,178 tons, down 10.8 percent from 542,792 tons in the first three months of last year, while shipments of red metal scrap dropped 8 percent to 312,296 tons from 339,404 tons. Aluminum used beverage cans tumbled 50 percent to 7,343 tons in the same comparison, and nickel scrap exports slipped 4 percent to 6,593 tons.
Bucking the trend were lead and zinc scrap exports, which recorded gains of 39.6 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, to 9,930 tons and 22,312 tons.
Nonferrous scrap exports in March totaled 288,118 tons, down 1.6 percent from the previous month and 14.3 percent below March 2012 levels. The month-on-month decline came despite an uptick in five of the six nonferrous scrap categories tracked by AMM, which was more than offset by a 7.7-percent drop in copper scrap shipments.