Southeast Asia scrap prices kick off new year on firm note

Ferrous scrap prices in Southeast Asia kicked off the new year on a positive note, supported by optimism of a pick-up in steel demand.

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An HMS 1&2 (80:20) cargo was heard sold to a Malaysian mill for February delivery at $430 per tonne cfr. While details of the deal could not be confirmed, offers for breakbulk cargoes were heard at similar levels, reinforcing earlier talk of a stronger market.

Offers in container were heard at $405 per tonne cfr, up from levels of just under $400 per tonne cfr at the end of December.

“There is some positive news coming out of China,” a source in Malaysia said on the stronger prices.

The HSBC China Purchasing Managers’ Index showed better numbers while the country’s policy on urbanisation will have a positive influence on steel consumption and prices, he added.

The index hit a 19-month high in December at 51.5, from 50.5 a month earlier.

Such a momentum is likely to be sustained in the coming months when infrastructure construction runs at full speed and property market conditions stabilise, the bank said in a recent statement.

One Indonesia-based source said business was still slow this week, but added that he had not seen any fall in prices for the time being.

He said the market is also waiting to see how the pig iron tenders in India unfold to gauge where prices of raw materials are headed in the near term.

“People are slowly getting back to business… there is no drop in prices. Mills and distributors are mostly adopting a wait-and-see approach at the moment since they have had some good sales in December,” he said.