Scrap Prices Settle Higher for March Delivery

Written by John Packard

As negotiations between the domestic steel mills and their ferrous scrap suppliers conclude we are seeing scrap prices rise with the Chicago markets “catching up” with some of the other regions. Dealers are reporting robust sales, especially to sheet mills as they are picking up spot market share from the integrated mills.

Chicago area prices are reported to be:

HMS (heavy melt scrap) @ $185 per gross ton delivered
Shredded @ $210/GTD
Busheling @ $195/GTD

While out of the Midwest we had a bit of a spread in pricing:

HMS @ $185-$190/GTD
Shred @ $200-$215/GTD
Bush @ $195-$215/GTD

In the Southeast we are seeing the spread as being:

HMS @ $175-$185/GTD
Shred @ $195-$215/GTD
Bush @ $195-$215/GTD

From the East Coast we are seeing prices as being:

HMS @ $170/GTD
Shred @ $190/GTD
5’ P&S (plate & structural) @ $180

One of our sources shared with us the Steelton mill is suppose to be sold at the end of March and the mill was taking two weeks of downtime during the last 2 weeks of the month.

We also saw a note from one dealer having sold to SDI Columbus (which is out of their geographical area) @ $230 for shredded scrap while a second source reported remote (out of region) sales made to the Chicago market on shred @ $215, Northern Indiana market as high as $225 and SDI Columbus at high as $250/GTD. The remote sales at higher levels are due to higher transportation costs.

One of the very large scrap companies told us in a note this afternoon, “This market is very fluid…feel numerous mills still willing to own scrap/cover full March program.  Am traveling making visits..scrap inventories coming out of winter are very light.  Mills here generally bought programs at sideways to +$10 gt, but Shredders here have jumped buy prices $10-15 nt already in effort to stimulate flow and optimism for April.

There are two markets currently.  Flat rolled running 85%+ op rate and EAF flats are biggest consumers.  Most other segments (SBQ, Merchant/Rebar, rail, beam, seamless pipe, etc) struggling to get to 50% in many cases.  Rebar should pick up in coming months, but can’t say same for SBQ (Cat, Deere), oil related, construction.

Scrap is very tight….and don’t anticipate flow improving before April.

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