DAILY STEEL SCRAP: Prices edge up after fresh Baltic Sea cargo, despite weaker demand for rebar

Turkish deep-sea scrap import prices strengthened again on Tuesday April 6, with reports of a fresh Baltic Sea cargo, market sources told Fastmarkets.

A steel mill in the Iskenderun region booked the Baltic Sea cargo of 20,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (95:5) at $430 per tonne cfr on Friday April 2.

The previous deep-sea deal took place on April 1, when a steel mill in the Marmara region booked a European cargo, comprising 20,000 tonnes of HMS 1&2 (80:20), 10,000 tonnes of shredded and 10,000 tonnes of bonus at an average price of $421 per tonne cfr.

As a result of the fresh Baltic Sea cargo, the daily scrap indices went up on Tuesday April 6.

Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was $421.50 per tonne on Tuesday, up by $4.56 per tonne compared with the previous index published on April 1.

Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), US origin, cfr Turkey was calculated at $427.47 per tonne on Tuesday April 6, also up by $4.56 per tonne, leaving the premium for US material over European scrap at $5.97 per tonne.

Turkish market participants, however, were still worried about the limited finished long steel demand in both the domestic and export markets, Fastmarkets was told.

“Domestic rebar demand is almost dead with the higher prices caused by the weakening lira. Some rebar export sales were heard in the recent week, but trading has not continued,” a Turkish mill source said.

The lira started to decline two weeks ago, following the surprise sacking of the central bank chief by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish lira was trading at 8.132 lira to $1 on April 6, compared with 7.200 lira to $1 on March 22, according to Oanda.com.

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

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Turkey, was 5,950-6,050 lira ($732-744), per tonne on Thursday April 1, up from 5,550-5,650 lira per tonne, including 18% VAT, a week earlier.

“The deep-sea scrap import market is mostly quiet, because mills are struggling to sell long steel products to local or export buyers,” another Turkish source added.

However, suppliers are continuing to hold their offer prices for the moment. The US suppliers were heard offering HMS 1&2 (80:20) to Turkey at $435 per tonne cfr, while the same material was on offer at $430 per tonne cfr from the Baltic Sea region.

Short-sea scrap offers from the Black Sea region came in at $405-410 per tonne cfr for similar material, sources said.

“The scrap offers for Turkey are still firm despite weak finished steel demand. Suppliers still believe there is enough margin between scrap and rebar,” a trading source said.