DAILY STEEL SCRAP: Fresh deep-sea cargo from US pushes up prices

Turkish deep-sea scrap import prices edged up further on Wednesday March 31 on news of a fresh US cargo, market participants told Fastmarkets.

A steel mill in the Izmir region booked the cargo, comprising HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $430 per tonne, shredded at $435 per tonne and plate & structural (P&S) scrap at $440 per tonne cfr. However, the cargo breakdown was not immediately clear at the time of publication.

The previous transaction from the US to Iskenderun in Turkey took place on March 26 at $427 per tonne cfr for HMS 1&2 (80:20).

The daily scrap indices continued to increase on Wednesday in response to the new deal.

Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), US origin, cfr Turkey was calculated at $430 per tonne on Wednesday up by $2.37 per tonne.

And the daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was $420.64 per tonne on Wednesday, also up by $2.37 per tonne on the day, leaving the premium for US material over European scrap at $9.36 per tonne on March 31.

Turkish steel mills, that have sold rebar to the export market or are taking part in sales negotiations are now interested in buying scrap, while others were waiting for rebar deals to go through, sources told Fastmarkets.

“The steel mill that recently bought the US scrap cargo at $430 per tonne cfr, was in negotiations [to sell] 50,000 tonnes of rebar to Southeast Asia,” a Turkish mill source said.

At least two steel mills had sold around 200,000 tonnes of rebar to Southeast Asia at $625 per tonne fob on an actual-weight basis during the past week.

And those mills were now offering rebar at $630-640 per tonne fob on an actual-weight basis, while other steel mills, which still have material available for May, said that $615-620 fob was a workable price for firm bids, another Turkish source said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), export, fob main port Turkey, was $610-620 per tonne on Thursday March 25, down from $620-630 per tonne fob.

However, the mills were still struggling with the weak demand in the domestic market, caused by the downturn in the country’s currency.

The Turkish lira was trading at 8.307 lira to $1 on Wednesday March 31, compared with the 7.929 lira to $1 on March 25, according to Oanda.com.

The weakening of the Turkish lira against the US dollar led to a rise in finished steel prices because mills in Turkey buy most of their raw materials in US dollars before selling them to the domestic market in the local currency.

“The demand for long steel product in the local market is almost dead. Nobody wants to buy anything at the current exchange rates,” said a Turkish mill source.

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