TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Buyers focus on US scrap while holidays limit supplies from Japan

Taiwanese buyers turned to imported containerized ferrous scrap from the United States West Coast over the past week due to the absence of Japanese scrap in the market.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized cargoes of steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), US material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $257-259 per tonne on Friday August 14, unchanged from a day earlier but up by $2 per tonne from $255-257 per tonne cfr Taiwan on August 7.

Sources in Taiwan told Fastmarkets that prices for containerized cargoes of heavy melting scrap 1&2 (80:20) from the US West Coast have stopped shooting up and will be stabilizing from this week onwards.

“Buyers are increasingly hesitant about purchasing at higher prices now. Even prices in Turkey have stabilized,” a buyer at a Taiwanese steel mill said on Thursday.

Negotiation levels were at $255-260 per tonne cfr Taiwan early in the week before transactions were concluded at $257, $258 and $259 per tonne cfr Taiwan from Wednesday onwards.

Offers came in at $260-265 per tonne cfr Taiwan, with little room for negotiations, buyers said. Material from South and Central America, meanwhile, was on offer at $240-245 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

“Sellers did not even reply when we asked for discounts,” a buyer at a second Taiwanese steel mill said on Thursday.

Sellers remain optimistic about spot price trends and are awaiting further price signals from Japan and Turkey.

“The Japanese scrap market continues to see tight supply, especially with the hot weather in the country hindering dismantling [work] and a week-long holiday,” a trader in Japan said on Wednesday.

Offers for bulk Japanese H1&H2 (50:50) cargoes came in at $280-285 per tonne cfr Taiwan, but there was only limited interest from buyers.

“Taiwanese buyers are unlikely to accept such high prices, with containerized materials selling at slightly below $260 per tonne cfr. They will offer a $10 per tonne premium over containerized cargoes,” a trader in Taiwan said on Thursday.

Offers for bulk Japanese HS were at $300 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

Market sources expect Japanese scrapyards to maintain offers at high levels when Japan returns from the holidays next week, with only a limited chance that prices might fall in the near term.