NEW YORK Export prices for containerized ferrous scrap to Taiwan slipped for the sixth successive week as mill interest remained bleak.
Holidays in Indonesia and Malaysia also prompted a drop in overall U.S. containerized scrap export volumes into East Asia this week as pockets of demand were reported from some buyers in Vietnam and Thailand, according to market participants.
A handful of transactions of an 80/20 mix of containerized No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt steel scrap was reported into Taiwan in a price range of $343 to $347 per tonne c.f.r., down $3 per tonne from a week ago.
Taiwans import prices for HMS 1&2 (80:20) are now down $15 to $16 per tonne from the week ended June 20, when it traded in a range of $359 to $362 per tonne.
Prices into other markets such as South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were mostly unchanged this week due to minimal activity, but prices overall have softened between $5 and $10 per tonne on average into those markets since mid-June.
Several market participants said that prices could come under further pressure as South Korean mills fight to lower tags and Taiwans mill remains absent.
"We sense Asian markets are weak in general, as Indonesia and Malaysia are quiet for their holidays, and we heard their market is going to get weaker," one exporter said. "We see hardly any chance to reach new deals as buyers have more (supplier) options than last week."
One Taiwanese trader said the market was very slow.
"Major mills bought some quantity at $343 to $345 (per tonne) for HMS 80/20 early this week and then stopped buying imported materials again. They will implement maintenance shutdowns in August and September. So until then, I dont think the market has motivation to go up," he said.
A second exporter expects any price recovery to occur only after August.
"I am hoping that with the end of summer around the corner that prices will start rebounding by (the) beginning (of) September," he said.
The only bright spot for some exporters this week was Vietnam, as market participants reported HMS 1&2 (80:20) sales into some Vietnamese mills in a range of $355 to $370 per tonne c.f.r., up from $355 to $360 per tonne a week ago. Traders who have now raised offer prices to a range of $370 to $375 per tonne said prices into Vietnam strengthened this week due to an apparent shortage of inventory.