Turkish buyers were mostly on the market sidelines due to higher offers and sluggish demand, but a deal concluded at higher prices supported their negotiating position.
Upticks in US ferrous scrap export prices to Turkey were capped by a large reduction in shredder feed prices at export yards.
Containerized Taiwanese import prices rose on bullish sentiment due to higher offers of Japan-origin scrap after a major public holiday in Japan.
Turkish steel mills were absent from the deep-sea scrap markets for several days this week due to increasing offer prices and sluggish demand for finished steel in the country’s export markets.
The mills were expected to book more cargoes for May to replenish their low stock levels, but instead they decided to fall silent because of the latest increase in prices.
A steel mill in the Marmara region paid $357 per tonne cfr for US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) on May 6 at the meeting at the International Rebar Producers & Exporters Association (Irepas) in Warsaw, Poland. This compared with the most recent US cargo, which was booked at $353 per tonne cfr for similar material at the end of last week.
Following the news of that US cargo, offer prices gradually rose to $360 per tonne cfr and higher.
There were no deep-sea transactions reported in Russia and Ukraine, where markets were closed for Victory Day holidays on May 9. Market participants nonetheless said that Baltic Sea-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) will cost between $357 and $360 per tonne cfr when the next bookings are made.
The most recent Baltic Sea trade for HMS-grade scrap was heard at $353 per tonne cfr, but sources said on May 6 at the Irepas conference that they expected scrap prices to increase following the news of the US cargo sold that day.
In the meantime, another Baltic Sea trade from last week came to light on May 9. A steel producer in the Marmara region booked HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $353 per tonne cfr late last week, but the cargo composition was still not clear at the time of publication.
US ferrous scrap export prices to Turkey bounced off the market bottom with a fresh sale from the country’s East Coast on May 8, but the turnaround in the bulk market was eclipsed by a large reduction in shredder feed prices at export yards.
Two cargoes have been sold off the East Coast to Turkey over the past seven days. The first bulk sale, which transacted on May 4 at $359 per tonne cfr for shredded scrap, was at the same price as an East Coast cargo that traded to Turkey on April 27.
Prices pushed higher by $3 per tonne in the second East Coast cargo booking by a Turkish mill on May 8. This sale concluded at $357 per tonne cfr for 14,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (80:20), $362 per tonne cfr for 14,000 tonnes of shredded and $367 per tonne cfr for 2,000 tonnes of plate and structural (P&S) scrap.
US exporters moved quickly to lower their shredded feed prices immediately after the announcement late last week of a Chinese ban on imports of non-ferrous scrap, due to expectations that prices for zorba scrap (shredded and pre-treated non-ferrous material) and shredder pickings will be severely affected by the ban, according to an East Coast processor.
But market participants agreed that prices for HMS 1 scrap delivered to East Coast docks were not affected by the decline in shredder feed pricing.
Meanwhile, prices for containerized shredded scrap on the East Coast were showing signs of upward pressure. Prices increased on the high end of the range to $345-353 per tonne fas from $345-350 per tonne fas a week ago, due to increased activity on the Indian subcontinent.
The tables have turned now that domestic scrap prices have settled lower. Current containerized shredded scrap prices are more attractive on a shipping point basis than local shredded prices, a second East Coast processor said.
Shredded scrap prices in the East Coast port of Philadelphia fell by $15 per ton to $365 per ton during May’s domestic trading, according to a price assessment by American Metal Market.
Prices for containerized shredded scrap imports into India went down this week with the weakness of the rupee against the dollar putting buying activity on hold, market sources told Metal Bulletin on May 11.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly index for containerized imports of shredded scrap into India was $385.94 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva on May 11, down by $4.79 week-on-week from $390.73 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva last week.
There were fewer deals heard on the market this week because market participants were holding back to see what would happen with the exchange rate.
Deals were heard at $390 per per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva as well as $385 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva for UK-origin material.
“The market has dropped. People are worried about prices. We will wait and watch this week; we need to assess the market,” a seller said.
“The market is in a confused state [and] buyers are holding back, thinking that prices might come down,” a second seller said.
“People are waiting to see what is happening. Prices moved up too fast too soon, so a correction will be expected,” a trader said.
Import prices for containerized HMS-grade material in Taiwan widened upward this week due to a slight improvement in buying interest.
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) sold into Taiwan was $340-345 per tonne cfr on May 11, widening upward by $2 per tonne from a week ago.
Deals involving US-origin cargoes were heard concluded at $340-343 per tonne cfr Taiwan this week. These included some 2,000-3,000 tonnes that were imported by a major Taiwanese re-roller at $340-342 per tonne cfr.
Offers from the US were heard at $340-350 per tonne cfr Taiwan, with the majority of them at the higher end of the range, around $345-350 per tonne cfr, sources said.
Bids were made at $340-345 per tonne cfr Taiwan, up by $2-5 per tonne cfr from the preceding week.
Re-rollers’ appetite for US-origin scrap grew slightly this week, partly because Japanese scrap became costlier following Japan’s return to the spot market after its Golden Week holiday, market participants said.
Japanese H2-grade scrap was heard offered on Wednesday at $352-355 per tonne cfr Taiwan, up by $7-10 per tonne from the preceding week. But no bids were reported from Taiwan.
Market sources said last week that there was strong seasonal demand for construction materials including rebar and sections, for which scrap is a production feedstock.
Turkish domestic scrap prices remained stable over the week ended May 7, in line with the steady imported scrap values for the country, sources said at the start of this week.
The steel producers in the country, along with the major scrapyard Kiliçlar Hurda, kept their buy prices for auto bundle scrap unchanged from the previous week.
As a result, Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for domestic auto bundle scrap (DKP grade) in Turkey was unchanged week-on-week on May 7 at TRY1,370-1,500 ($321-352) per tonne delivered.
Cem Turken in Mugla, Carrie Bone in London and Mei Ling Toh in New York contributed to this report.