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Zorba export prices steady; uptick eyed

Keywords: Tags  zorba, nonferrous auto shred, scrap prices, nonferrous scrap, London Metal Exchange, LME, Comex, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — U.S. export prices for zorba have stabilized despite falling demand from Chinese buyers, sources said, noting that gains in terminal markets were "artificially holding the zorba market up."

Prices for the nonferrous auto shred with 94- to 95-percent metallic content are around 72 to 73 cents per pound while 90- to 92-percent material is about 69 to 70 cents, both steady compared with Dec. 9, most export sources said.

One major exporter said he had been able to achieve slightly higher prices in the past few days at "around 74 to 75 cents per pound for the high-grade material."

Several exporters said that prices likely would hold steady for the next couple of weeks, with possible increases at the very end of the year.

"I expect to see more interest as we exit this year, with pricing moving back up a bit," a second exporter said. "Copper is strong, aluminum is strong, and demand has not gone away in the world. I’ve heard 73 to 75 (cents) to China for the 95-percent stuff. That price should rise as China comes back into the picture."

China’s anticipated re-entry in the market is more cyclical than some would believe, traders said. "Their new year begins at the end of January, which means everybody will be coming back online shortly after that. If you calculate shipping time, it’s pretty easy to see why they would be looking to buy material in late December and early January," one said.

Others noted that buying activity had slackened over the past two weeks, but prices were being buoyed by relatively strong exchange prices. "Terminal markets are helping us out right now," a third exporter said. "Supply and demand is the primary driver of the zorba market, but right now we are seeing buyers holding prices simply because the (London Metal Exchange) and Comex have recovered nicely over the past few weeks."

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