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Chicago scrap prices firm on late-week push

Keywords: Tags  ferrous scrap, heavy melt, shred, busheling, bundles, turnings, Sean Davidson


NEW YORK — Ferrous scrap prices for October finished on firm ground in Chicago after recording a slight bounce over September levels on some obsolete grades in late trading.

A late push for scrap by several producers encouraged dealers to raise prices a touch above the sideways numbers that many committed tons to earlier in the past week.

Market participants said one mill that entered the market much later in the week was still chasing tons late Oct. 4 while a few other mills reportedly were trying to secure more volumes ahead of the traditionally tighter winter months.

When the dust had settled, No. 1 heavy melt had traded between $340 and $350 per gross ton, sources said, with one mill reportedly paying up to $8 per ton above last month’s prices to secure its needs.

However, sources said No. 1 heavy melt generally traded toward the middle of that range, resulting in AMM’s assessment for No. 1 heavy melt in Chicago to settle at $345 per ton, up $3 from September.

Shredded scrap sales also recorded a modest bump, and AMM’s assessment for shred in Chicago settled at $359 per ton, up $2 from last month.

Sources said the slight uptick was driven by a late-week push by some mills for more shredded scrap.

While other grades, like No. 1 bundles, No. 1 busheling and plate and structural, traded sideways, an apparent supply shortage of machine shop turnings in Chicago drove that price up $5 per ton to $245, with sources reporting deals on either side of that number.

"Mills tried to stay firm, but, (they) need scrap. They came back sideways and even offered five bucks for additional tons. This tells me they see this as the bottom and are trying to get ahead of an up market by buying heavy. They are predictable," said a source at a large supplier.

A mill buyer who acknowledged this pattern said it was a surprise to see some mills still "chasing tons" Oct. 4. "Mills looking to buy more are wasting their time. They’re driving up the price and not getting any units. It’s foolish," he said.

A few suppliers said that while producers concluded deals with most local suppliers at or around prices unchanged from September, several deals with remote suppliers were at much higher prices than those recorded in Chicago and Indiana.

Another supplier said shredders refused to accept anything under previous prices and by Oct. 2 even those offers had dried up.

"Those that didn’t take shred at sideways on Monday were back in on Wednesday for shred and paying up money. The market, which was supposed to go down, for the most part went sideways and up because dealers held their ground," he said. "There is still some demand out there and I do believe we could sell scrap for some more money today than we did two days ago. We could (do) $5 for sure. But we’re sold out."


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