SOUTH ASIA STEEL SCRAP: Market stumbles on price uncertainty, shipping issues

The price of shredded steel scrap imported into India and Pakistan increased on Friday December 4, due to continuing shipping issues and despite uncertainty over higher prices, sources have told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets calculated the steel scrap, shredded, index, import, cfr Nhava Sheva, India, at $380.65 per tonne on Friday, up from $365.18 per tonne one week earlier.

Only one deal was reported this week, with shredded material from the UK sold at $380 per tonne, up from a deal level of $365 per tonne last week.

Offers were in the range of $375-380 per tonne, up from $360-375 per tonne the week before.

“People are wondering what they should do. There are a lot of problems with containers. People are looking for cheaper cargoes,” a seller said.

“The market is more than uneasy. It’s very difficult, with [suppliers] holding on to material. Prices have peaked,” a trader said.

Despite a rising international market which usually supports other global scrap markets, sentiment had been affected by uncertainty over the direction of prices and the poor availability of shipping containers.

Fastmarkets calculated the index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, at $352.47 per tonne on December 4, up from $347.14 per tonne on November 27, and $330.60 per tonne the week before that.

“There have been a few offers, but generally it has been quiet. There is not a lot of activity, mainly due to the shipping issues. We are telling [suppliers] not to offer until they’ve got containers,” a second seller said.

The weekly price assessment for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), import, cfr Nhava Sheva, India, was $345-360 per tonne on Friday, up from $330-345 per tonne the previous week.

Deals for UK-origin HMS made up the bottom end of the range, with Middle East-origin material making up the top end.

“The markets have moved higher. Container availability has gone down a lot, and they are jacking up [freight] rates,” a second trader said.

“The shipping lines are not willing to commit space. Everything is so high [and] people are afraid. People are delaying their decisions,” he added.

“Steel prices in India are going up and all major plants have increased their prices by about $40 per tonne for long and flat [steel]. There is very healthy demand, supported by a very strong export market. Local scrap availability is good, so they don’t need to import at cost,” he said.

“Suppliers won’t give us shipping schedules. No-one wants January shipment [but] getting containers for December is very difficult, so [there was] no business conducted this week. Prices are not very attractive. Availability of HMS 1 is very tight [and although] South Africa has opened up [there is a] lack of permits,” he added.

Fastmarkets calculated the steel scrap shredded, index, import, cfr Port Qasim, Pakistan, at $380.63 per tonne on December 4, up from $367.43 per tonne on November 27.

Deals for shredded material were heard at $378 per tonne and $380 per tonne this week, up from deals at $365-370 per tonne last week.

Offers were reported as high as $387 per tonne this week.

“The market is quiet and demand for finished goods is lower,” a mill source said.

“There are hardly any offers because market participants cannot sell January-shipment containers due to [there being] no clarity on freight [rates] for January,” a trader said. “Container availability is unpredictable. There are no real offers [for material] and tonnages now. Trading activity was not great but non-availability has played a major role, which is why sellers didn’t come down on prices.”

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