DAILY SCRAP REPORT: Index at 6-month low on weak lira, cheap China billet

Metal Bulletin’s daily index for Northern Europe-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) delivered to Turkey dropped day-on-day by $6.89 on Wednesday September 24 on a deal clinched at a lower price.

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The index closed at $348.20 per tonne cfr on the day. Steel First’s index for USA-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) scrap delivered to Turkey ended the day at $357.73 per tonne, down by $7.07 day-on-day.

USA-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) usually trades at a $10 premium over similar Northern European material.

Both indices are at their lowest points since early March.

Scrap prices have been going down since late August on Turkish mills’ efforts to clinch deals at lower levels due to the weakening of the lira against the US dollar, as well as on the chance to purchase cheap billet from China.

A mill in Turkey’s Osmaniye region was heard on Wednesday to have booked 25,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (75:25) at $343.50 per tonne cfr from Northern Europe. The deal was understood to been made early this week.

Apart from that sale, the market has been quiet so far this week. “We have had no deals,” a trader on the sell side said. “Nobody wants to bid.”

The latest deal heard before the Monday one was a steelmaker in the Karadeniz region booking a Northern European cargo comprising 25,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (75:25), 12,500 tonnes of P&S (plate and structural) and busheling, and 7,500 tonnes of HMS 1, at an average price of $360 per tonne cfr.

The deal was done in the middle or second half of last week, market sources said. One trader said it was clinched on the weekend.

Turkish steelmakers have been trying to push scrap prices lower as the lira continues to weaken against the dollar, as mills pay for imported scrap in dollars and sell their finished products to the local market in lira.

The country’s national currency has weakened by 3% since the start of September to stand at TRY2.2384 to $1 on September 24, compared with TRY2.1618 to $1 on the first day of the month, according to Oanda.com.

Domestic prices for rebar started to go down recently.

Steel First’s weekly price assessment for Turkish domestic rebar was $575-580 per tonne ex-works on September 18, down from $577-586 per tonne in the previous week.

Turkish steel producers are also keen to reduce scrap import prices due to low quotations for China-origin billet, currently being offered at $490 per tonne cfr, according to some market participants.

Alona Grynenko in Kiev contributed to this report