NEW YORK Ferrous scrap export prices to several Asian countries have strengthened this week as demand from mill buyers improved.
Market participants reported higher weekly prices for containerized ferrous scrap shipments into such countries as Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, while larger-volume cargoes out of Japan also recorded a significant increase June 11.
Container loads of an 80/20 mix of No. 1 heavy melt traded in a range of $354 to $358 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan, sellers into Taiwan said, up $6 per tonne on the low end and $1 on the high end from the prior weeks range.
Prices increased for the second consecutive week into Taiwan because its mills are short on inventory while finished product orders have improved moderately, buyers and sellers said.
"Rebar sales have been more optimistic than expected. Also many mills had slowed down during May and have low inventories that need replenishment," one exporter said.
A second exporter agreed, noting that many didnt sell at the lower numbers offered out of Taiwan a few weeks ago.
"It appears we may have hit the floor of the market and are now seeing a slight rebound. Although we will have to see how long this continues," he said.
Prices were strong this week since mills were short on scrap, a buyer for one Taiwanese producer said, but speculated that prices could soften in the coming weeks based on indications from iron ore prices and overall finished product demand in the region.
Nevertheless, South Korean mills also raised scrap prices this week to around $350 per tonne for containerized HMS 1&2 (80:20), up about $5 per tonne.
As a result, export prices into Taiwan and South Korea are now up around $10 per tonne from a month ago, an increase well reflected in the latest monthly auction held in Japan.
The winning bid for scrap cargoes auctioned June 11 by Kanto Tetsugen, a collective of Tokyo-area dealers, called averaged $324 per tonne f.o.b. Tokyo for H2-grade scrap (a mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt). Thats up $11 per tonne from the groups last auction a month ago.
Market participants also reported higher export prices into Thailand, which also is reportedly short on scrap inventory, as well as Vietnam.
HMS 1&2 (80:20) containerized scrap sales were reported in a range of $350 to $355 per tonne c.f.r. Thailand and $360 to $370 per tonne c.f.r. Vietnam, for an average weekly increase of $5 per tonne into both countries.