NEW YORK Nonferrous scrap exports in March continued their disappointing start to the year, according to the latest U.S. Commerce Department data.
Exports of the six major nonferrous metal groups monitored by AMMaluminum, copper, lead, nickel, zinc and used beverage can (UBC) scraptotaled 251,988 short tons in March. Despite trekking up 5.8 percent from February shipments, volumes were still 12.5 percent below 288,118 tons shipped in March 2013.
March marked the third consecutive month that exports dropped below corresponding volumes a year earlier, pushing first-quarter shipments down 12.4 percent to 738,194 tons from 842,652 tons in the first three months of 2013.
Copper and brass scrap exports have been hit the hardest, with first-quarter volumes falling 13.5 percent to 270,070 tons from a year earlier largely due to an 18.6-percent drop in shipments to China to 187,010 tons.
Aluminum still accounts for more than 57 percent of U.S. nonferrous scrap exports at 422,430 tons in the first quarter, although volumes were down 12.8 percent from the same period last year as Chinas intake fell 20 percent to 272,986 tons.
Zinc scrap exports ended the quarter at 19,300 tons, down 13.5 percent from a year ago, while lead scrap shipments fell 5.6 percent to 9,371 tons in the same comparison.