January scrap prices slip less than initial offers

Written by Ethan Bernard

Domestic scrap prices turned out to be down slightly after a roller coaster of trading this month, scrap sources told SMU.

“Nothing big really new since last week … export seems to have remained steady,” one source told SMU. He said that there were sales from the US offered north of $430 per metric ton CIF for 80/20, “but no takers.”

On Jan. 12, CRU’s Steve Miller wrote on some of the twists and turns of the January scrap market. He said there was lot of regional variation in prices. Additionally, many deals did not follow the lower offers set by a Detroit-area mill.   

Regarding prime scrap pricing, the first source said prices were sideways in the Northeast to down $30 in Ohio. He added that there were many deals elsewhere in between, with “most premium pricing coming down closer to the $500 per gross ton delivered mill level in the Midwest.”

One change from last week is the impact of winter weather.

“Flows are not great into yards … a lot of weather this week in northern parts of the county,” the first source said. “Some exporters in the Northeast raising prices for shredder feed raw materials,” he added.

A second source agreed, saying, “Weather nationally will affect February markets.”  

“Good chance we see obsoletes go sideways in February,” he added, noting that demand is firm.

“I see trades moving steady over the next few weeks,” the first source said.

A third source had a different take on the market. He said there’s quite a bit of “misinformation” of which buyer paid what for scrap this month.

“The truth is most mills tried to drop prices but were met with resistance and higher prices from other mills,” the third source said.  “So they had to raise their level to fill in. In most cases, they went sideways from December or higher.”

SMU’s settled January scrap prices stand at:

  • Busheling at $470-510/gt, averaging $490, down $10 from December.
  • Shredded at $440-460/gt, averaging $450, down $10 from December.
  • HMS at $350-400/gt, averaging $375, down $5 from December.

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