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US scrap exports pick up, but pricing slips

Keywords: Tags  steel scrap, ferrous scrap exports, scrap prices, heavy melting scrap, shredded scrap, HMS, bulk exports, scrap demand Sean Davidson


NEW YORK — Four ferrous scrap bulk sales to Turkey and one to South Korea kept U.S. exporters busy last week as demand picked up on marginally softer prices.

Two exporters each sold two bulk cargoes to Turkey off the East Coast at prices ranging from $363 to $365 per tonne c.i.f. Turkey for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melting steel scrap, market participants said.

While the range is just a touch below the previous East Coast bulk sale to Turkey on Sept. 13 at $366 per tonne for HMS 1&2 (80:20), pre-shipping or f.o.b. values dropped a bit more due to rising freight costs, sources said.

Bulk vessels have shifted their focus to the seasonal uptick in shipments of grains, causing freight rates to jump by as much as 15 percent, one market participant said.

Barely a day after one ferrous scrap exporter sold two bulk cargoes to Turkey at an HMS 1&2 (80:20) price of $363 per tonne, a second exporter reportedly booked separate sales at $363 and $365 per tonne as Turkish mills continued to secure cargoes.

As a result, AMM’s weekly East Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled Sept. 30 at $339.05 per tonne f.o.b. New York, down 1.6 percent from $344.48 previously.

U.S. sources speculated that prices could hover around these levels while buyers in Turkey wait for the U.S. domestic market to settle either this week or next week.

"The prices seem to have bottomed at current levels. There is no huge demand or tightness in availability for scrap to move the prices up sharply, but at least we can see prices stabilizing at current levels and may earn a slight increase in the coming days," a second source said.

However, a third source was more bearish. "My expectations are that the domestic market will be off $10 to $15, and that exports will trend down. I would not be surprised to see Turkey below $360 within the next couple of weeks," he said.

On the West Coast, bulk exporters didn’t book as many sales but sources said the market has been active, with a lot of interest from Far East Asian mills.

"I think the market hit bottom because all of a sudden we had interest from mills last week. One vessel sold and there were calls for more," one West Coast market participant said.

Despite the renewed interest, only one cargo sold last week at $366 per tonne c.i.f. South Korea for 15,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (80:20) and $371 per tonne for 10,000 tonnes of shredded scrap, sources said.

The sale will attract higher freight rates than larger vessels, meaning pre-shipping values slipped slightly despite delivered prices remaining relatively unchanged.

AMM’s weekly West Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index for HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled Sept. 30 at $332.94 per tonne f.o.b. Los Angeles, down 1.2 percent from $337.14 previously.


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