The expected timing of the rebound varied from country to country, however, and was largely tied to the possibility of stronger prices for long steel products.
For now, demand for Turkish and Taiwanese rebar has been reported to be weak. Indian long steel producers were said to be enjoying better buying, even though local rebar prices have recently started to stagnate.
Turkey deep-sea imports
Metal Bulletin’s Turkish import scrap price indices for deep-sea HMS 1&2 (80:20) material gained a total of about $8 per tonne over the past week, as sources said that “the rebound was probably just starting.”
This followed a fall of $41 per tonne that had taken place over the period since March 9.
However, some local mills’ sources expressed pessimism.
“Actually, there is no reason for the rise in the scrap prices – the rebar market in Turkey is really bad, and I am not optimistic,” a source on the producers’ side said earlier this week.
“Steel prices will need time to adjust to the higher scrap [costs],” a trader said.
A rise of $5-15 per tonne in domestic offers for Turkish rebar was heard on Thursday.
However, Metal Bulletin’s price assessments for Turkish export rebar and wire rod, published on the same day, moved down by $10-30 per tonne week-on-week, with market participants citing sluggish demand [LINK].
There was just one deal understood to be concluded this week in the Turkish import deep-sea scrap market.
A US supplier was heard to have sold a cargo to an Izmir steel mill, comprising 20,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $270 per tonne cfr and 20,000 tonnes of shredded scrap at $275 per tonne cfr.
“We are hearing that suppliers are not in hurry to offer and prices for USA-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) have already reached $280 per tonne cfr,” a trader said.
Metal Bulletin’s daily index for Northern Europe-origin scrap finished the week at $261.66 per tonne cfr Turkey.
The daily index for USA-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) closed at $269.80 per tonne cfr on Friday.
Turkey short-sea imports
Prices in the Turkish A3-grade scrap short-sea import market have remained largely stable over the past week.
Russia was heard offering its A3 scrap at $270 per tonne cfr Turkey, stable week-on-week.
“To reach breakeven, many Rostov-based A3 sellers are offering $270 per tonne cfr,” a trader explained.
The workable price was assessed at $257-260 per tonne cfr, up from $250 per tonne cfr last week.
A steel mill in the Marmara region was heard to have booked an undisclosed quantity of Romania-origin A3 scrap at $252 per tonne cfr Turkey.
That was down from the offer for similar material from the same source location, heard at $265 per tonne cfr last week.
Import prices for containerised HMS-grade ferrous scrap in Taiwan have plunged over the past week, leaving market participants wondering whether they have bottomed out.
Metal Bulletin’s assessment of import prices for USA-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) was $255-258 per tonne cfr Taiwan on Friday March 31, down by $13-17 per tonne from $268-275 per tonne cfr in the preceding week.
Scrap cargoes from the West Coast of the USA were sold at prices as low as $255 per tonne cfr in Taiwan over the past week, even though most offers were hovering around $260 per tonne cfr and higher, buyer and trading sources told Metal Bulletin.
At least one deal was heard concluded at “just below $260” per tonne cfr earlier in the week, before some suppliers started to accept $255 per tonne cfr, one market participant said.
Meanwhile, a major electric arc furnace mill has been out of the import market for the whole week, as its executives were evaluating whether its stockpiles matched orders for rebar and other long steel products.
“It has been very hard to sell finished steel products,” a source at the mill said on Friday.
Another buyer source confirmed that local rebar sales in Taiwan had been weak. He was expecting prices for US cargoes of HMS 1&2 (80:20) to fall to $250 per tonne cfr soon.
Not everyone shared this view, however.
“I think the market just hit the bottom and [will] rebound to $260 [per tonne cfr],” a trader said.
Two other traders also expected prices to stabilise, since there was growing resistance from US suppliers to continued reductions of their selling prices.
Scrap purchasing activity is expected to be low next week, as Taiwan will break for public holidays on Monday and Tuesday.
Metal Bulletin’s index for shredded scrap imported into India closed at $299.94 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva on Friday, up by $2.10 per tonne from $302.04 per tonne cfr one week ago.
“Scrap prices have fallen but container lines have their increased freight [rates],” one trader explained.
One deal for 3,000 tonnes of UK-origin shredded material was heard at $305 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva, while US material was heard sold at $290-305 per tonne cfr.
Offers for material from the UK, USA and Europe were heard in the range of $290-300 per tonne cfr Nhava Sheva.
Market sources were optimistic that higher prices for Indian imported scrap would be heard soon. This was due to good finished steel prices and demand, a scrap seller said.
“Steel mills are making money – conversion from scrap to steel has high [margins],” the source said.
“[The period from] February to April is always strong for India; May and June will be the testing point,” he added.
Juan Weik in Singapore and Lee Allen in London contributed to this report.
Turkish import scrap prices have risen this week, while those for Taiwanese import material plunged, and Indian import scrap held largely steady amid general expectation of a rebound in demand for the steelmaking raw material.