NEW YORK Bulk and containerized ferrous scrap export prices into most Asian markets fell this week as demand remained weak.
Market participants said that a bulk cargo sale off the West Coast to South Korea sent prices lower for the second consecutive week, while containerized scrap export tags also lost some ground.
A booking by a large Korean producer at $372 per tonne c.i.f. Korea for No. 1 heavy melt was $6- to $7-per-tonne lower than a cargo the same producer booked from the same exporter last week (amm.com, July 21), according to market participants.
This weeks sale to Korea means West Coast bulk prices have dropped $13 per tonne since the start of July, when three cargoes reportedly sold to the country at $385 per tonne for No. 1 heavy melt (amm.com, July 3).
All five U.S. cargoes sold to Korea since the start of July have been booked by the same Korean producer, with one U.S. exporter securing four of those deals and a second exporter logging a single sale.
The $13-per-tonne drop in bulk prices to Korea reflects falling domestic scrap prices in several Asian countries and could put containerized scrap export tags under pressure, according to some exporters.
Buyers and exporters said that a containerized 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt steel was sold to Taiwan this week in a range of $346 to $350 per tonne, down $3 to $4 per tonne from a week ago and around $10 lower than at the start of this month.
"Scrap demand from both Taiwan and Korea is not so strong at the moment, but they will have to enter the scrap market at some point for the end of August/early September to prepare for their production increases in the fourth quarter," a Japanese exporter said.
Exporters said demand this week was dismal from markets such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan, with only Vietnams mill buyers showing strong interest in scrap.
"Taiwan and Korea are still weak this week. The Japan tender prices fell $3 to $5 per tonne this week and we dont expect prices to return soon," an Asian trader said. "Indonesias problem is their currency keeps depreciating, so they reduced their bulk purchases and just have small demand for container scrap."
Market participants said containerized HMS 1&2 (80:20) was sold to Vietnam this week in a range of $355 to $360 per tonne c.f.r. Vietnam, down $5 from a week ago, while some Vietnamese mills booked H2-grade scrap (a mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt) from Japan at $370 to $371 per tonne c.f.r.