US September ferrous scrap exports fall on lower Asian demand

US ferrous scrap exports plunged in September after critical southeast Asian markets cut back on buying due to unfavorable currency markets, poor demand from mills in the region and higher scrap prices.

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Exports totaled 1,631,442 tonnes in September, down 21.6% from 2,080,456 tonnes the previous month and 21.7% below the 2,082,971 tonnes shipped abroad in September 2011, according to the latest US Commerce Department data.

Lower demand from Taiwan, India and Malaysia accounted for nearly 90% of the 449,000-tonne decline in exports in September as the three countries reduced their collective purchases from US suppliers by more than 390,000 tonnes compared to August.

Ferrous scrap exports to Taiwan fell 40.1% to 237,690 tonnes in September from 396,484 tonnes the previous month.

Sales to India tumbled 63.6% to 66,902 tonnes from 183,589 tonnes and Malaysian orders plunged 79.9% to 28,803 tonnes from 143,433 tonnes.

South Korea’s intake of 254,107 tonnes was down just 0.8% from 256,102 tonnes in August, while demand from China (including Hong Kong) inched up 0.7% to 97,277 tonnes from 96,597 tonnes.

Shipments to Canada fell 18% to 94,273 tonnes in September from 114,973 tonnes the previous month, while Mexico’s intake slid 26.7%t to 51,526 tonnes from 70,247 tonnes.

Turkey, the largest offshore buyer of US ferrous scrap, posted a 29.2% increase to 655,925 tonnes in from 507,797 tonnes in August.

The large drop in demand in September hit shredded scrap exports the hardest, with volumes falling 32.2% to 478,819 tonnes from 705,816 tonnes the previous month.

Exports of No. 1 heavy melt scrap fell 13.7% to 586,282 tonnes from 679,696 tonnes in the same comparison, while plate and structural shipments slid 28.4% to 82,076 tonnes from 114,699 tonnes.

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