Mills in India and Pakistan bought bulk cargoes from the US West Coast over recent days at increased prices amid stronger demand for scrap, low bulk freight rates and concerns about availability of scrap at US yards in the coming months, sources said.

Bangladesh is traditionally a larger bulk buyer than India and Pakistan but scrap inventory levels remain high in Bangladesh following a raft of bookings during March, from which material has recently been arriving.

The country has exited its formal Covid-19 lockdown period – termed locally a “holiday” period – but cases of Covid-19 in the nation continue to climb, with 2,911 cases and 37 coronavirus deaths recorded on June 3, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Buying will not be at normal levels over the next months - everyone has inventory so they will be careful. Quantities bought will go down because what was needed was already bought in March-April and mill capacity utilization rates are low,” one Bangladesh mill source said.

As a result, market participants said that Bangladesh mills were still biding their time before plumping for a bulk cargo, but sources differed on the levels that Bangladesh mills would have to pay.

“Generally, the market in Bangladesh is slow following the Eid holidays, it is expected to pick up again from next week,” a South Asian scrap trader said.

“Nobody is buying still, so it is tough to get an idea of prices,” a second South Asian trader said.

“There is no trade yet but if Bangladesh also comes into the market then prices will rise,” he added.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for bulk cargoes of steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), deep-sea origin, import, cfr Bangladesh was $280-285 per tonne on June 4, up $10 week on week from $270-275 per tonne cfr last week.

Offers for bulk HMS 1&2 (80:20) from the US West Coast were understood to be around $300 per tonne cfr in recent days, but mills have been unwilling to match these levels, with most market participants surveyed expecting prices in the range of $280-285 per tonne cfr for the next bulk sale.

In containers, a rumored deal for shredded scrap was heard at $290 per tonne cfr Chattogram, compared with offers at $275 per tonne cfr Chattogram last week.