TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Prices boosted by limited offers, freight problems

A lack of offers in the market from suppliers, together with worsening problems with container freight, combined to raise Taiwan import scrap prices in the week to Friday November 13.

Prices for containerized HMS 1&2 (80:20) from the United States West Coast ticked upward through the week, with offers starting the week at $290-294 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

By Wednesday, deals were heard as high as $293 per tonne cfr Taiwan, while by Thursday, deals were heard at $298 per tonne cfr. Expectations among market participants on Friday were that the next deal would take place at $300 per tonne cfr.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized cargoes of steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), US material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $298-300 per tonne on Friday, up by $1-2 per tonne from $297-298 per tonne a day earlier and up by $10-12 per tonne from $288 per tonne on November 6.

Prices have risen sharply with soaring scrap offers coming from both the US and Japan to Taiwan this week.

Japanese offers for bulk H1:H2 (50:50) cargoes were heard at $320 per tonne cfr by Friday following a sharp rise in the Kanto auction results on Wednesday, with bids at $310-315 per tonne cfr, Fastmarkets heard. Bids last Friday were $300-302 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

“In Japan, the problem for us is the high scrap price; in the US the problem is container freight,” a Taiwan-based mill source told Fastmarkets.

A shortage of containers, together with a spike in exports from China, has led to container lines jacking up prices for scrap shipments in recent weeks. The problem had been more acute in South Asia, but is now affecting areas such as Taiwan more heavily.

A Taiwanese trader said that some container lines will raise rates by $200 per container for December shipments, putting the rates for shipping scrap at around $10-15 per tonne from the US West Coast to Taiwan.

The mill source said increased container rates have even led to some of his orders being cancelled because suppliers were no longer able to honor existing contracts with the higher container freight prices being quoted.

“Scrap prices are increasing more every day, and because of the container freight issue, suppliers are being more conservative in offering material to the market. They are not sure how much freight to add on,” he said.

“There is less tonnage available now and suppliers are not offering much material,” the Taiwanese trader said.

A second Taiwanese trader said that the shipping problems and lack of offers to the market would ensure prices keep climbing into next week.

“Suppliers think the price will go up further next week – the highest deal price I have heard so far is $298 per tonne cfr Taiwan but next week it will hit $300 per tonne cfr,” he said.

A second mill source told Fastmarkets on Wednesday he was likely to stop purchasing material while prices continued to move up so strongly.

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