SOUTH ASIA STEEL SCRAP: Prices tumble on weak market conditions

Prices for shredded steel scrap imported into India and Pakistan fell in the week to Friday March 19 due to weak market conditions and poor demand from buyers, sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets calculated its steel scrap, shredded, index, import, cfr Nhava Sheva, India at $427.50 per tonne on Friday, down from $450.83 per tonne the week previous.

A deal was heard at $425 per tonne for UK material, down from one at $450 per tonne the previous week. Offers were reported at $425-430 per tonne, down from $445-455 per tonne the previous week.

Interest in imported material remained low, with buyers opting for domestic scrap or direct-reduced iron to meet their requirements. Market sources said that domestic scrap was a better option because of price and availability than imported material.

Market sentiment was negative following a lack of buying activity in the Turkey.

Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was calculated at $428.81 per tonne on March 19, unchanged from the day before. Market participants believe that prices, which have trended downward since March 4, will fall further due to the lack of reported activity.

“The market is down, and container freight prices have increased. India finished steel is okay but not as good as it was a month ago… Demand for scrap has improved, but domestic scrap is still better than import in terms of price and availability,” a buyer said. “Covid-19 cases are rising and new restrictions coming into place in some areas could see a drop in demand.”

Extremely high freight rates remained an issue for the import market, with some traders expecting another increase of $50-60 per container in April.

“The market is very quiet, people still don’t know what will happen with freight, suppliers think the market will come back strong and buyers are silent,” a trader said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), import, cfr Nhava Sheva, India was $380-400 per tonne on Friday, down from 400-420 per tonne the week before.

The Pakistan ferrous scrap market continued to weaken, with the almost silent Turkish market negatively impacting sentiment.

Fastmarkets calculated its weekly steel scrap, shredded, index, import, cfr Port Qasim, Pakistan at $429.42 per tonne on March 19, down from $445.42 per tonne one week earlier.

Deals were reported at $425 per tonne, $430 per tonne and $435 per tonne this past week, down from offer prices of $440-455 per tonne the previous week, although no deals had been concluded at those levels.

There was continued market chatter of distressed cargoes already on the water. One cargo was reported at $425 per tonne, but other market participants disputed if the deal had occurred. 

One of the key issues for traders in both the Indian and Pakistan market was securing material from suppliers, which they told Fastmarkets was being offered higher than what they could offer and trade it for, making any transactions unworkable.

“There are still hardly any offers for April shipment as sellers have not been able to offer this price for fresh loading and is not supported by yards who were reluctant to offer at customers expected prices. Distress cargoes still seem to be available and not liquidated while most of March arrivals were sold out at whatever sellers could get,” a trader said.