Scrap Prices Rise But Vary by Region

Written by John Packard

Scrap prices rose by varying amounts around the country. In Chicago and Detroit prices rose from $5 to $15 per ton depending on the product. Both areas were impacted by the reduction of production at USS Gary Works (Chicago) and Great Lakes (Detroit). Detroit was the first to settle at up $10 per gross ton according to SMU sources.

Steel Market Update has Chicago area scrap prices as follows:

#1 HMS (heavy melt) at $380-$385 per gross ton.
Shredded scrap at $398 to $400 per gross ton.
#1 Busheling scrap at $400 per gross ton.

However, when moving away from the two affected areas, we saw prices moving much higher in the Ohio Valley for shredded and prime grades of scrap. Our sources reported shredded prices as high as $425 per gross ton and Busheling up to $425 to $430 per gross ton.  Heavy melt went up by approximately $10 per gross ton to $375-$380 per gross ton.

In the east, our sources reported prices up $10 to $20 per gross ton with heavy melt selling for $340 per gross ton and shredded scrap $385 per gross ton. We heard from one source, “I don’t know how much weaker those prices will get. Maybe not better for May but not a whole lot lower. Flows are better but not great and demand is consistent and pretty strong.”

Out of the east we also heard that export prices are beginning to improve with new numbers up $35-$40 per metric ton higher than when the low’s were seen a few  months ago. We are hearing the exporters are not moving as much scrap into the domestic markets which is one of the main reasons why Ohio Valley prices rose as much as they did.

A national scrap company pegged the market this way for SMU, “It appears the domestic market lost some steam, particularly on the secondary grades by late last week ultimately settling in at the up $10 range on shred and P & S.  Primes were closer to up $15/gt while HMS and MST were even to slightly higher.  The export market will unfold this week and likely set the tone for May.”

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