TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Strong demand, limited offers boost prices

Prices for containerized ferrous scrap in the key Taiwanese market surged this week amid strong demand for cargoes and limited offers from sellers waiting for more price increases.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), United States material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $475-480 per tonne on Friday May 14, increasing by $15-20 per tonne from Wednesday and up by $35 per tonne from $440-445 per tonne on May 7.

Negotiated price levels grew increasingly higher throughout the week, with buyers unable to refuse the higher offers by sellers amid the need for imported scrap.

Negotiations increased to $460 per tonne cfr Taiwan on Wednesday May 12 from $450 per tonne on Monday May 10, before buyers bought cargoes at $470 per tonne on Thursday and $475-480 per tonne, both cfr Taiwan, by late Thursday and Friday.

“It’s not easy to secure materials now, especially with sellers still optimistic and holding out for more price increases,” a buyer source in Taiwan told Fastmarkets on Friday.

Offers were especially thin on Friday, amid mixed market signals.

Some market participants expect scrap prices to fall amid the rapid declines in Chinese steel futures, although others said supply remained tight and that it was likely that prices will continue increasing.

A major domestic steel mill increased its domestic scrap purchase prices by NT$300 ($10.72) per tonne for 3mm scrap, but raised its scrap purchase price for busheling scrap by NT$500 per tonne. It also increased its domestic rebar price by NT$500 per tonne.

“There is more demand now for higher-grade materials, instead of lower-grade obsoletes,” a second buyer source in Taiwan told Fastmarkets on Friday.

Major Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel raised its purchase prices for domestic scrap three times this week, with the last increase of ¥1,000 ($9.13) per tonne on Friday causing more bullish sentiment among buyers.

Offers for bulk Japanese H1&H2 (50:50) cargoes were at $490-500 per tonne cfr Taiwan, although buyers were not interested in bidding at such high levels and were instead coming in at $460-465 per tonne cfr Taiwan.