Buyers continue to take healthy positions in the No1 busheling futures market, with 423 lots (8,460 gross tons) sold on Tuesday April 23, a daily report from CME Group showed.
But it remains unclear whether the sales were made by finished steel buyers or industrial scrap buyers seeking to protect their inventory in a market that has been under downward pressure.
The lots sold expire between May and February 2020 and follow two other large sales this month - 429 lots on April 18 and 650 lots on April 12 - in addition regular smaller trades.
Prices were mixed, with 81 lots for May expiration sold at $340 per ton, down by $10 per ton from the previous business day; and 12 lots expiring in June sold at $345 per ton, down $5 per ton. The July, August and September expiration contracts were all unchanged at $350 per ton, with 50 lots, 51 lots and 58 lots traded respectively.
Prices deteriorated from there, with the October contract trading 63 lots at $346 per ton, down by $4; and the November and December contracts each trading 52 lots at prices that were down by $5 and $8 respectively to $343 and $340 per ton. The remaining trades were for January and February 2020 expiration, with each trading two lots at prices that were down by $7 and $2 respectively to $333 and $328 per ton.
CME's busheling futures contracts are underpinned by Fastmarkets AMM's No1 busheling domestic Midwest Index, which settled at $350.50 per ton in April, down from $372.32 per ton in March. The next settlement will be on May 10.
Open interest on the contract stood at 4,207 lots, or 84,140 tons, at the close on April 23.