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US scrap export tags tumble in latest deals

Jan 29, 2020 | 02:13 PM | Pittsburgh | Lisa Gordon


The United States' ferrous scrap export market has weakened on both the East and West Coast, with new sales occurring at lower prices to Turkey and South Korea.

An East Coast exporter sold 30,000 tonnes of a 90:10 mix of No1 and No2 heavy melting scrap (HMS) at $275 per tonne on Wednesday January 29. Equalized to an 80:20 HMS basis, this cargo would be priced at $272 per tonne cfr.

This sale was down by $16 per tonne from the previous sale, reported on January 16, at $288 per tonne cfr on an equalized 80:20 HMS basis. 

East Coast docks have been anticipating lower-priced sales to Turkey and adjusted prices lower in three consecutive moves - two of which came in one week.  

One exporter with a heavy presence along the East Coast has told a supplier that it is aiming to lower the No1 HMS price to $210 per gross ton.  

No1 HMS is selling for $225 per ton in Philadelphia and in Boston and $230 per ton in New York. Since January 17, prices have fallen by $25 per ton in Philadelphia and by $15 per ton in Boston and New York.

“Nobody is at $240 per ton anymore. I’ve heard mostly $220-230 per ton [for heavy melt],” a Philadelphia recycler said.

The lowering of US dock prices was necessary to spark a resurgence in export business to Turkey, which was disappointing in December and January.

Only two cargoes have been reported sold to Turkey so far this month. Some quiet sales have reportedly been made but not openly shared, numerous sellers to the docks told Fastmarkets.

Turkish mills need scrap but have been facing downward pressure on reinforcing bar sales, which have fallen by $10 per tonne to $430 per tonne fob  - another reason docks are trying to lower prices.

With no new shredded sales on the East Coast, Fastmarkets’ shredded scrap, export index, fob New York was flat week on week at $273.50 per tonne on Wednesday. The steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20), export index, fob New York fell to $248 per tonne, down by 6.1% from $264 per tonne in the same comparison.  

Even with the Lunar New Year under way, two cargoes have sold off the US West Coast. In addition to an earlier sale reported to Bangladesh, a 45,000-tonne cargo of No1 HMS priced at $287.50 per tonne cfr was sold to South Korea within the past week.

Fastmarkets’ steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20), export index, fob Los Angeles fell by 4.7% as a result of the two sales, to $266.25 per tonne on January 29 from $279.50 per tonne the previous weeky.