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Chicago scrap market follows Detroit cues

Keywords: Tags  ferrous scrap, scrap prices, heavy melt, shredded scrap, plate and structural scrap, Chicago market, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — A late push to secure obsolete and shredded scrap in Chicago caused prices for those grades to make stronger gains than prime scrap in November.

Chicago-area steel mills that stepped in earlier this week to lock in their volumes for the month accepted dealer demands for increases of $30 per gross ton on most grades of scrap, market participants said.

The few that waited paid increases of between $30 and $40 per ton, with prices for No. 1 heavy melt, five-foot plate and structural scrap, and shredded scrap getting dearer as the week progressed. However, for the overall Chicago market, the late tons that traded at higher prices were a small percentage of the total tons traded in that market.

As a result, AMM’s assessment of No. 1 heavy melt prices in Chicago finished Nov. 7 at $377 per ton, up $32 from $345 per ton last month, with market participants reporting trades in a range of $375 to $380 per ton.

AMM assessed shredded scrap at $390 and plate and structural at $394 per ton in Chicago Nov. 7, up $31 and $30 per ton, respectively, from October.

Prime grades like No. 1 bundles and No. 1 busheling rose $30 per ton, with No. 1 busheling in Chicago settling at $430 per ton Nov. 7.

A dramatically reduced supply of machine shop turnings from machining steel plants led turnings to increase $40 per ton on average from October, marking this month’s largest increase as prices finished at $285 per ton. Sources said every mini-mill was chasing any available supply.

"Everyone in the Chicago area was plus $30 (per ton), but it sounds like some additional strength came into the area (Nov. 6). I was hearing that dealers were getting plus $35 to $40 on obsolete grades late (Wednesday), prompted by (one mill) buying anything they could get their hands on," one supplier said.

A few sources reported trades into Indiana at about $5 per ton above Chicago levels on grades like heavy melt, plate and structural and shredded scrap.

St. Louis-area mills also completed trading at the $30-per-ton increases recorded in most Midwest markets, while in Texas sources reported trades were concluded at between $20 and $30 per ton higher than October.

The Detroit market led off the increases earlier this week (, Nov. 6).

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