January scrap tags on wild ride in still unsettled market

Written by Ethan Bernard

US scrap prices for January remained unsettled as of early Thursday afternoon, according to market sources.

“Prime grades are anywhere from sideways in Chicago and Detroit … and Philadelphia, to down $30 in Cleveland,” one source told SMU. “Then there are lots of deals in the middle,” he added, noting that trading is generally wrapping up.

“As of today, the scrap market is still not settled as most mills in the North tier are still trying to buy busheling,” another scrap source said.

“Dealers are turning down prices at down $30 from December levels,” the second source noted. “This market should move sideways or close to it.”

A third source said, “Both mills and suppliers did NOT follow the initial price moves set forth by Delta, even after this mill came out with a second set of prices.”

Recall that a Detroit-area mill entered the January scrap market with lower offers, down $50 per gross ton on #1 busheling.

On the export front, the first source said that export continues to trade firmly, with US cargoes shipping in February last trading around $425-430/metric ton CIF for 80/20.  

“Looking forward, the strength of the US domestic market will depend on how strong export demand and infeed flows into dealer yards are over the next few weeks,” he said.

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