STEEL SCRAP WRAP: Global steel market downturn softens scrap appetites, prices

Increasing scrap flows and bearish appetites led to softer prices in the majority of international steel scrap markets in the week to Friday March 12.

While the markets in the United States, China and India appeared to be static over the period, a flurry of buying activity in Vietnam was intended to capitalize on lower Japanese scrap prices, while Taiwanese traders made hasty sales in a bid to avoid further price drops.

  • Turkish importers capitalize on lower prices amid Baltic Sea ‘panic sales’
  • US market said to be on edge of downturn
  • Cheaper Japanese scrap enlivens Vietnamese market, attracting buyers
  • Environmental inspections halt China scrap market activity
  • Taiwanese traders liquidate positions in expectations of further spot-price drop
  • India, Pakistan markets muted in line with global downturn.

Scrap oversupply and weak rebar sales led to a slew of panic selling, primarily in the Baltic Sea region, which lowered deep-sea import prices in Turkey this week.

Market participants in the region had broadly expected a drop in prices with more temperate weather increasing scrap flows, making it easier for importers in the region to push prices down.

Pricing history
steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), Northern Europe origin, cfr Turkey.
steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20), US origin, cfr Turkey.

United States
Turkey returned to the United States deep-sea scrap export market this week after a period of absence, but deep-sea cargo sales made at prices both above and below February’s levels have led to speculation that the market is on the edge of a decline.

Pricing history
steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20), export index, fob New York.
steel scrap shredded scrap, export index, fob New York.
steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), export index, fob Los Angeles.

Weaker Japanese scrap prices attracted more buyers to the Vietnamese deep-sea export market this week, with multiple deals heard in the region.

Pricing history
steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), cfr Vietnam.

Chinese import appetite was suppressed after consumer sentiment turned resolutely bearish in the wake of significant environmental inspections undertaken at a series of steel mills in Tangshan.

Pricing history
steel scrap, heavy scrap, domestic, delivered mill China.

Spot prices for Taiwanese steel scrap plummeted over the course of the week with traders in the region hastily liquidating their positions in expectation of further decreases amid increasingly bearish sentiment.

Pricing history
steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), US material import, cfr main port Taiwan.

The continuing downturn in the global scrap markets manifested in muted export activity from India and Pakistan, with a lack of consumer activity pushing prices lower over the course of the week.

Pricing history
steel scrap, shredded, index, import, cfr Nhava Sheva, India.

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