TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Cooling sentiment in Asia dampens prices

Cooling sentiment in the entire ferrous supply chain in Asia has cooled import prices for containerized ferrous scrap in the key Taiwanese market, sources said on May 21.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), United States material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $465-470 per tonne on Friday May 21, falling by $5-10 per tonne from Thursday and down by $10 per tonne from $475-480 per tonne on May 7.

Sellers were insistent on keeping offers at $480-485 per tonne cfr Taiwan at the start of the week, with some offering as high as $495 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

The plunging steel prices in China, as well as in complementary raw material iron ore, however, led market sentiment to cool, sources said.

Sellers then disposed of containerized cargoes at the $476-480 per tonne cfr Taiwan range, with transactions concluded at $476, $477, $478, $479 and $480 per tonne cfr Taiwan on Wednesday May 19.

Negotiations were quieter from Thursday on due to the falling steel prices in key steel producer China, with continual price falls.

“It’s very obvious this week that the changes in the Chinese steel market are having a much bigger impact compared to previous weeks,” a trader source in Taiwan told Fastmarkets on Friday May 21.

Buyers disappeared from the spot market from late Wednesday onward, expecting spot prices to fall further amid the increasingly bearish outlook. Offers fell to $465-470 per tonne cfr Taiwan on Friday, with buyers still waiting for more price falls to happen.

A major domestic steel mill increased its domestic scrap purchase prices by NT$600 ($21.45) per tonne for 3mm scrap but raised its scrap purchase price for busheling scrap by NT$300 per tonne and also increased its domestic rebar price by NT$900 per tonne.

About 6,000 tonnes of Taiwanese plate & structural scrap (P&S) had been offered to northern China at $570 per tonne cfr in the past week, although it was not immediately clear whether this was from a trader or a Taiwanese scrapyard. Near 3,000 tonnes were heard to have been sold already, sources told Fastmarkets.

Buyers remained more interested in US-origin material, especially after major Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel raised its purchase prices for domestic scrap again this week.

The Tokyo-based mini mill increased its domestic scrap bid price by ¥1,000-1,500 ($9.18-13.77) per tonne this week at all its major steel works, however, a major South Korean producer reduced its bid by ¥1,000 per tonne to ¥49,000 per tonne.

Offers for bulk Japanese H1&H2 (50:50) cargoes were at $510-515 per tonne cfr Taiwan, with buyers showing limited interest due to its high premium over containerized material, Fastmarkets heard.

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