TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Prices rebound amid large container-bulk spread

Spot prices for imported containerized ferrous scrap in Taiwan started rebounding in the week to Friday August 13 due to increasing seller reluctance to offer lower prices given the widening price gap with bulk cargoes, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized steel scrap, heavy melting scrap (HMS) 1&2 (80:20), United States material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $437-438 per tonne on Friday, increasing by $2-3 per tonne from a day earlier and increasing by $6-7 per tonne from $430-432 per tonne a week earlier.

Buyers were able to purchase containerized material from the US West Coast at increasingly lower prices in the first half of the week, with transactions concluded at $430 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

Offers for these materials were then at $432-433 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

However, the wide gap of $65-70 per tonne with bulk cargoes, which sources estimated to be around $495 per tonne cfr southeast Asia this week, subsequently led suppliers on the United States’ West Coast to resist further drops.

Buyers had to increase their bids and purchase prices to $435 per tonne cfr Taiwan by Thursday, with more transactions heard at $435-440 per tonne cfr Taiwan by late Thursday and Friday, including confirmed deals at $437-438 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

Offers also increased to $440-445 per tonne cfr Taiwan by late Thursday and Friday.

News of Vietnamese mills purchasing containerized scrap at $450 per tonne cfr also supported container prices in Taiwan.

“Prices have stopped their downward fall, but it remains to be seen whether the uptrend is sustainable, because Taiwan is still in the midst of electricity rationing, and it will be a few weeks more before operating rates increase again,” a Taiwanese trader told Fastmarkets on Friday August 13.

He expects spot demand to increase from the second-half of September.

A major Taiwanese mill kept its domestic scrap purchase prices stable but dropped its selling price for rebar by NT$300 ($10.78) per tonne.

The apparent lack of offers from Japanese sellers for bulk H1&H2 (50:50) materials also supported the price increases, although some offers were heard at $475 per tonne and $500 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

“Buyers are still mainly looking at the $460 per tonne cfr Taiwan level if they really want to purchase Japanese scrap,” a second Taiwanese trader told Fastmarkets on Thursday August 12.

Japan is in the midst of its Obon Festival holiday (August 12-16), and sellers were not eager to dispose of materials amid the reduced business activity. They are also waiting for a clearer price trend to emerge after the Kanto Tetsugen auction is concluded on August 19.

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