TAIWAN STEEL SCRAP: Sustained demand to support prices in near term

Sustained demand for containerized ferrous scrap imports in the key Taiwanese market should continue to support prices in the near term, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for containerized steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), United States material import, cfr main port Taiwan was $425-430 per tonne on Friday April 23, unchanged from a day earlier but widening downward by $5 per tonne from $430 per tonne on April 16.

There were multiple transactions concluded at $425-428 per tonne cfr Taiwan in the middle of the week with major steel mills purchasing cargoes offered at low prices by traders.

Sellers had been quick to sell off cargoes amid lower spot prices in Turkey, thinking that the ongoing Islamic holy month of Ramadan would continue to dampen prices.

But the sudden rebound in Turkish prices surprised market participants, who did not expect the change in price direction to come so quickly.

“Prices are likely to continue rebounding, especially with demand in Taiwan still hot,” a major buyer told Fastmarkets.

Buyers continued to resist price increases, maintaining bids at $425 per tonne cfr Taiwan all the way until Friday. But there was talk in the market that some buyers had caved in and were looking to increase their bids to $430 per tonne cfr Taiwan.

A major buyer purchased at least 3,500 tonnes of imported containerized ferrous scrap. About 7,000-10,000 tonnes of imported scrap was heard transacted this week, industry sources said.

Offers for South and Central American scrap were at $410 per tonne cfr Taiwan, a buyer said.

A major domestic steel mill increased its domestic scrap purchase prices by NT$200 ($7.12) per tonne for heavy melting scrap. It also raised its offers for domestic rebar by NT$300 per tonne.

Sellers were offering Japanese H1&H2 (50:50) at $460 per tonne cfr Taiwan at the start of the week, although the high premiums over containerized materials meant that there was limited interest.

Market participants expect offers for Japanese cargoes to remain high in the meantime, especially with Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel raising its domestic scrap purchase price again on April 21 by ¥500-1,000 ($4.63-9.26) per tonne.

It will now pay ¥46,000 at Okayama works and ¥45,500 per tonne at its Kyushu works. It is also paying ¥44,000 per tonne at its Utsunomiya works and ¥44,500 per tonne at its Takamatsu works. Prices at Tahara works remain unchanged at ¥45,500-46,500 per tonne.

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