Domestic scrap tags seen increasing in December

Written by Ethan Bernard

US scrap prices are expected to rise in December, industry sources told SMU.

“The expectation is the market will be up, but just how much remains to be seen,” one scrap source said.

“I think we will see a pretty typical December trade, which is to say that scrap supply will tighten into the end of the year when sellers are more reluctant to sell,” another source said.

He noted that US mills are emerging from maintenance shutdowns. They will “face increased competition from exporters trying to accumulate scrap for a plethora of overseas bookings that have happened in November,” he said.

The second source said these bookings are expected to continue in December. 

“The weaker US dollar will help propel export prices a little higher too,” he added.

December price outlook

For December pricing, the second source expects US cut grade pricing to increase $20-30 per gross ton (gt), shredded to increase $30/gt, and primes to increase $40-$50/gt, depending on how much shred is available for sale. 

Meanwhile, the first source said he expects the following December pricing, depending on region: busheling up $30-50/gt, shredded up $20/gt, and HMS up $10/gt.  

“There seems to be improved demand for busheling and less supply,” he added.  

A third source said, “Most participants I speak with believe the obsolete grades will go up around $30 and primes up $40-50/gt.  

Into 2024

Looking into the start of 2024, the sources agreed that there is space for prices to rise in January.

“There is probably a decent bit of room for prices to rise further in January, but how much depends on numerous factors,” the second source said.

He noted those include: (1) continued Turkish demand in December, (2) Indian demand, and (3) how much scrap — particularly prime grades — US and Canadian dealers are holding and waiting to offer when they perceive the market as ultimately peaking. 

November scrap settlement

Our November scrap prices stood at:

  • Busheling at $400-430 per gross ton, averaging $415, up $15 from October.
  • Shredded at $380-410 per gross ton, averaging $395, up $25 from October.
  • HMS at $330-370 per gross ton, averaging $350, up $30 from October.

For a deeper dive into the the upward movement in the scrap export market, watch out for the column from CRU’s Stephen Miller in this Sunday’s newsletter.

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