Ferrous Scrap: Down $20 for Obsoletes in August

Written by Tim Triplett

As scrap prices for August were settling today, obsolete grades generally traded down $20/GT, while prime grades traded sideways, sources tell Steel Market Update. Late reports indicated busheling may be down $10 in the South. Ferrous scrap prices factor into the mills’ costs and how much they charge for finished steel products.

The drop in obsolete grades by all the mills in the Ohio Valley and most in the Midwest was primarily due to steady inbound flows to the scrap yards and a weakening export market, said one scrap executive. Prime prices held firm because of the growing demand from the electric-arc furnaces and stunted generation from manufacturing plants affected by the shortage of semiconductors.

Ferrous scrap prices for August were likely to settle at the following levels: shred, $480-490 per gross ton; P/S, $480 per ton; HMS, $450 per ton; and bush, $670 per ton.

“Most participants agree that prices should stay in a tight range for the next few months before seasonal factors push prices higher,” he added.

Export demand has a big effect on domestic scrap prices. Recent export deals for obsoletes are reported in the mid-$460s with unusually high freight costs (around $45/metric tonne to Turkey from the U.S. East Coast), said another source. “Export is really near a bottom as a lot of East Coast inventory has cleared and shipped and shredder inflows have slowed materially,” he said.

Commented another market participant: “I am looking for the markets on ferrous to bottom out in September and then show strength as we go into the fall and winter. Some of the strength will be seasonal, but some will be because demand stays strong. The only wild card is the spread of the virus in the U.S., and especially in China and other parts of the world.”

Pig Iron Prices

One pig iron expert tells SMU there has only been one pig purchase of late by a U.S. mill, reportedly a $585/MT CFR Nola cargo from South Brazil. The Ukrainians are targeting sales to the U.S. in the $620-625/metric tonne CFR range, he said..

By Tim Triplett,

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