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Scrap exports to India show no sign of life

Keywords: Tags  scrap, ferrous scrap, scrap exports, heavy melt, HMS, shred, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — Containerized ferrous scrap exports to India effectively dried up in the past week as buyers were unable to match rising price offers from the United States and Europe.

Barring a momentary spike in volumes earlier this month to at most a handful of large producers in India, exports have remained dismal for a few months, with no uptick in sight, sources said. Heavy melt exports have fared only marginally better in recent weeks, many added.

Buyers and sellers attributed weak market conditions for finished steel in India, rising domestic prices in the United States and increases in Turkish prices for imports from Europe as the reasons for buyers’ inability to negotiate at current offer levels. Offer prices reportedly were in a range of $340 to $345 per tonne c.f.r. Nhava Sheva for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt and $370 to $380 per tonne for shredded scrap.

With a weeklong annual religious holiday approaching and no immediate signs of demand recovery, several market players suggested these bleak conditions will continue for the next few weeks.

"(There is) no improvement here in India. Shred was purchased (recently) by very few stainless steel or alloy steel producers. No billet manufacturer has bought shred for the last six to nine months, as heavy melt, turnings, bundles and several other products are available at better prices, like $310 for turnings and $320 for bundles," a trader in Mumbai, India, said.

U.S. exporters said a rising domestic market buoyed by an anticipated seasonal uptick and this past week’s jump in bulk prices to Turkey made India the least-attractive market.

"(Turkey) created a lot of buzz in the U.S. scrap market, which has resulted in yard owners increasing their prices by at least $15 to $20 per tonne for shredded scrap," one trader said.

Usual suppliers to India said they have made no attempt to court Indian buyers due to far more attractive domestic prices.

"There have been a few inquiries for shred in containers from Savannah, but no firm offers," one supplier said.

A second East Coast supplier said he had made no efforts to sell heavy melt or plate and structural scrap in containers to India recently. The supplier said that despite no sales of shred to India, offer prices have increased to $337 to $340 per tonne f.a.s. Baltimore this past week from $322 at the beginning of the month.

Some sources reported minimal volume exports to alternate markets such as Southeast Asia, with sales of shred reported in a range of $380 to $385 per tonne c.f.r. Indonesia.

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