US scrap prices may see upward shift in December
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US factory bundles went down approximately $25 to $30 /long ton in the beginning of November; then prices of other scrap categories followed, decreasing approximately $10 to $20 /long ton.
A main reason why scrap prices fell some is that the integrated mills now have sufficient scrap inventories. Scrap prices are no longer trending down though -- On the contrary, market sources believe prices will go up $5 to $10 /long ton in December and up another $10 /long ton in January 2008.
With the strong worldwide scrap demand, people returning to work after the holidays, and the historical trend of scrap prices increasing during the winter months, it is expected that mills and service centers will replenish their inventories in January 2008 and push scrap prices up.
Currently, Midwest busheling scrap is going for $295 to $305 /long ton, and shredded scrap is sold for $275 to $285 /long ton, while HMS I ranges from $245 to $255 /long ton.
SteelOrbis has been informed that a Turkish mill concluded a booking of a single cargo of scrap ex-US for December shipment last week. The cargo in question is composed of 25,000 mt of HMS I/II 80:20 scrap booked at $349 /mt CIF, 5,000 mt of shredded scrap booked at $354 /mt CIF, and 5,000 mt of P&S scrap booked at $359 /mt CIF. This is approximately $10 /mt higher than last month's level. The price gain is mostly gobbled up by the increasing freight rates from the US to Turkey.
The most recent USITC data available show that during the month of September 2007, the top recipients of shredded scrap from the US were: Malaysia, at 66,000 mt; Turkey, at 55,000 mt; Mexico and Taiwan, both at 46,000 mt; Pakistan, at 38,000 mt; and Greece, at 35,000 mt. India and Egypt also imported some tonnage of shredded scrap from the US in September.
The top importers of HMS I grade scrap from the US in September 2007 were: Turkey, at 140,000 mt; Malaysia, at 32,000 mt; Taiwan, at 24,000 mt; and Egypt, at 21,000 mt. Some other countries which imported HMS I grade scrap from the US in September include South Korea and Colombia.
The total amount of ferrous scrap exports from the US in September 2007 was 733,000 mt -- 292,000 mt less than the amount exported in August.
In the third quarter of 2007, the US exported 2,741,000 mt of ferrous scrap, which is a decrease of 256,000 mt when compared to the figure of 2,997,000 mt for the third quarter of 2006.
Year-to-date (January to September 2007), the total amount of ferrous scrap exports is 8,071,000 mt - an increase of 10.3 percent when compared to the figure of 7,315,000 mt for the corresponding period of 2006.
Pig iron, a raw material scrap substitute, is not seeing good market conditions in the US, since due to the weak US dollar, Brazil is the only country to negotiate with. The current pig iron price is around $340 /mt FOB Northern Brazil, around $320 /mt FOB Southern Brazil, and around $400 /mt FOB Russia. Freight rates are approximately $45 to $55 /mt from the Black Sea to New Orleans and $58-$60 /mt from southern Brazil. The pricing trend for pig iron imports is strongly up.