RMU survey results

RMU Survey: Prices for ferrous, non-ferrous unlikely to fall soon

Written by Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Prices for ferrous and non-ferrous scrap are not likely to drop in the short-term, according to Recycled Metals Update’s latest survey results.

RMU’s monthly survey polls over 200 companies — dealers and processors, traders, mills and other segments of the market — to track sentiment, pricing and scrap flows and other trends.

On the ferrous side, about two-thirds of the respondents indicated ferrous scrap prices would remain stable, while one-quarter thought they would rise in May. Only 7% said prices would drop over the next month (see Chart 3).

Over the next three months, 63% of survey respondents thought ferrous prices would increase, 31% said they would be stable, while only 6% indicated prices would decrease.

One respondent noted that while many suppliers hope prices will go up, “demand is average” and scrap is available.

Chart 1

Meanwhile, participants reported that flows for ferrous scrap into yards were largely stable, with 67% saying industrial and 58% saying obsolete scrap were holding steady.

Chart 2

As for non-ferrous, in the near-term, there is a strong indication of a significant increase in scrap prices, attributed to multiple factors.

The survey findings corroborate this assessment, highlighting the prevailing imbalance between supply and demand as a key driver of upward price pressure.

Mills are increasingly likely to encounter a scarcity of scrap materials, placing them in a vulnerable position vis-à-vis sellers and feeding into a bullish market sentiment. This trend is said to be already evident, particularly with UBCs, where reports suggest sales have surged by over 73%.

About half of survey participants see non-ferrous scrap prices increasing, while about 36% expect them to stay flat over the next month.

One respondent commented, “With the LME spike, prices have increased a bit but spreads have moved very little.”

Chart 3

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