truck with metal scrap

Miller on scrap: US East Coast boosted by Turkey

Written by Stephen Miller

The scrap export market has demonstrated resiliency so far this year from the US East Coast. This strength has mainly come from the Turkish market. Despite weakening orders for rebar in their domestic market, imported scrap prices have held up until the last several days. The US West Coast is not as active, but there are orders in South Asia and in South America that are keeping things afloat.

Let’s start with Turkey. This market peaked out in early February at about $422 per metric ton (mt) CFR, and stubbornly came down to $419/mt for several cargoes of US origin. The cheapest deal in the week ended on Friday, Feb. 16, was from Europe at $412/mt for HMS 80/20, and followed by another at $411/mt. It’s widely reported the Turkish steelmakers need to buy at least 30 cargoes for March shipment. If this happens, they will have to return to the US for a significant number of vessel-loads since there seems to be a seasonal scrap deficit in Europe. With the relative strength in the US market, it may be difficult to bring the delivered price much below $415-420/mt.

SMU reached out to a buyer of export-quality HMS for a large exporter. Despite the winter storms “flows have been adequate.” Most terminals have not tried to reduce inbound prices since January. “This has kept scrap coming in”, he said. Prices reported for remote HMS are in the range of $330-335 per gross ton (gt) delivered to East Coast docks.

Over on the West Coast, there is lack of activity as the Chinese Lunar New Year is in full swing. The bulk export markets are mainly in the South Asian regions of Bangladesh and India. The prices reported in those to areas are in the $410-415/mt range for #1/#2 HMS 80/20 and $10/mt more for shredded.

SMU reached out to Phil Hoffman, chairman of scrap trading company Hoffman Iron and Steel. He said the scrap container markets on the US West Coast are under pressure from other Asian countries, which are exporting to the two major buyers of US-based sellers.

These buyers are Taiwan and Vietnam. Hoffman estimated the prices to be $370/mt CFR Taiwan and $390 into Vietnam. Most US exporters want $380 to Taiwan. So, if they cannot obtain this price, “they’ll just sit on it,” Hoffman said. The consensus is the holiday season in Asia will limit activity for a while.

The post Miller on scrap: US East Coast boosted by Turkey appeared first on Steel Market Update.

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