Final Thoughts on scrap recycling industry

Final Thoughts

Written by Stephen Miller

It’s mid-April and that means it’s time for the ISRI 2024 convention in Las Vegas.

There is a great mix of attendees from all over the world, with a record total attendance of 6,624. Congratulations to the ISRI Team on this.

Many of these businesses are small startups who are seeing the recycling industry as full of opportunity and profitability.

As for ferrous – I have been trying to gauge to feelings about the May ferrous market. Most scrap people whom with I have spoken seem to be optimistic. They are thinking sideways at worst, but possibly a $10/gt-$20/gt increase in some grades. Demand should improve from April since the many planned outages last month are in the rearview mirror. Unless there is a noticeable increase in scrap supply, prices should stabilize and possibly increase.

This theme was echoed in several presentations in “Spotlight on Ferrous” at the convention. One presenter pointed out #1 Busheling and Shredded were basically priced together with only $5/gt separating them. This is unusual and will not last very long. The mills will try to widen this gap, most likely, by trying to drop Shredded prices rather than increasing Busheling. The presenter opined this may be hard to accomplish in a Shredded short market. It’s unclear whether Busheling can make a move upward, but it’s possible.

CRU North American President, John Ball, made a presentation which included a summary of which steelmaking countries have the largest carbon footprint. He illustrated this in a graph which obviated India and China as the largest transgressors. The US had by far the least. Yes, we have heard this all before. But what does this mean to the attendees in the room who make their living in ferrous scrap?

Mr. Ball went on to explain it means according to their own respective government mandates, these countries will have to eventually switch to steelmaking processes which use more scrap and this will help the scrap industry, not to mention the environment.

The convention is just one day old, so there will be more to come.

CRU has 11 people in attendance, including those representing Steel Market Update and Recycled Metals Update. Please stop by our booth at #2260 if you are attending.

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