Prime scrap tags fall in February, HMS and shredded mostly flat

Written by Ethan Bernard

US busheling scrap prices fell this month, while HMS and shredded grades remained largely unchanged, sources tell SMU.

“The February market showed slight weakness but nothing too drastic,” one scrap source said.

He said that looking ahead to March, “the scrap market should show some seasonal downward pressure due to improved weather, which will improve flows of obsolete grades.” 

“What’s unclear is the supply/demand scenario of industrial grades. Most are betting they will be off also,” he added.

A second source said expectations for March “are largely sideways with a bias to slightly lower prices.”

He cited a concern that reduced demand from mills would push prices lower in certain regions. “Otherwise, a stable export market and continued winter weather will support similar prices into March,” he added.

For a deeper dive into February trading, see CRU’s Stephen Miller column here.

A third source was more bullish on March due to seasonality.

“All I will say at this point about March is that despite the bearish tone in the market, March is very rarely a down month for scrap,” he said. 

He noted March usually has better demand because mills’ inventories are lower, and it’s a longer month. Usually, at the end of February, he said dealer inventories are typically “very low.”

“So even if demand at mills does not snap back, it’s tough to take a March market down,” the third source added.

SMU’s settled February scrap prices stand at:

  • Busheling at $430-480 per gross ton (gt), averaging $455, down $35 from January.
  • Shredded at $440-470/gt, averaging $455, up $5 from January.
  • HMS at $360-390/gt, averaging $375, flat from January. However, the low end was up $10/gt month over month while the high end was down $10/gt.

The post Prime scrap tags fall in February, HMS and shredded mostly flat appeared first on Steel Market Update.

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