March Scrap Tags Expected To Rise Significantly

Steel market participants are bracing for prime scrap prices to rise in March, according to SMU’s most recent survey data.

Approximately 82% of survey respondents think prime scrap prices will increase when prices settle later this month.

Prices for obsolete grades are heating up as well, according to scrap sources contacted by SMU.

One scrap market source said obsoletes might be up as much $40-60 per gross ton (gt) this month on tightness in US and fallout from the earthquakes in Turkey.

Another scrap market source broadly agreed. He said he was hearing up  $40-60/gt for obsoletes grades. He predicted that prime would be up at least $50/gt on scant supply.

“Not sure about how much legs the US demand has. But maybe end users in the US are gaining confidence and are more open to jumping in and placing orders before prices rise more here,” he said.

He added that fewer contracts had been done “and for consumers that’s not good news; could last a little while.”

The second source said market dynamics in Asia could support higher scrap prices in the US. “If Asia really wakes up, look out, because it could stimulate demand outside of China (too).”

A third scrap source also pointed to the impact of Turkey: “Now with the elevated price levels in Turkey, the US market is going to rise.”

He said obsolete grades would be pushed up by export demand, adding that supplies were tight going into February and would be tight in March as well. 

The third source noted that pig iron has stayed firm and is now in the mid-$500s per ton cfr New Orleans. “And that’s for May shipment, June arrival, and July upriver.”

Prices had already risen in February. SMU’s February pricing was:

  • Busheling at $440 -$480 per gross ton, averaging $460, up $20 from January.
  • Shredded at $440 -$470 per gross ton, averaging $455, up $30 from January.
  • HMS at $370 – $400 per gross ton, averaging $385, up $35 from last January.

The second source said prices are expected to settle by the middle of next week. 

By Ethan Bernard,

The post March Scrap Tags Expected To Rise Significantly appeared first on Steel Market Update.

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