US nonferrous scrap exports rise October vs September

Nonferrous scrap export volumes from the United States rose in October, with decreases in used beverage cans (UBCs), nickel and zinc scrap being offset by increases in aluminium, copper and lead scrap, according to the latest data from the US Department of Commerce. In year-to-date comparisons, however, only exports of aluminium scrap declined

Nonferrous

US nonferrous scrap exports increased by 2.54% to 293,826 short tons in October, up from 286,534 tons in September. For January-October, exports rose by 6.08% to 2,954,963 tons from 2,785,629 tons in the same period last year.

On a percentage and tonnage basis, zinc scrap exports continued to have the largest gains for year-to-date volumes, with exports up 316.17% to 197,308 tons in January-October from 47,411 tons in the same comparison last year. Shipments in October, however, decreased 15.30% to 9,979 tons from 11,781 tons in September.

India remained the largest importer of US zinc scrap in October at 3,102 tons, down 31.87% from 4,553 tons in September. Year to date, exports to India rose 144.52% to 37,646 tons compared with 15,396 in the first ten months of 2021.

Taiwan was the second largest importer of US zinc scrap in October at 1,680 tons imported, down 29.56% from the 2,385 tons imported in September. Year to date, exports to Taiwan increased 121.11% to 25,828 tons shipped in January-October 2022 compared with 11,681 shipped in the same period of 2021.

Spain was the third largest importer of US zinc scrap, also showing large percentage gains on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis. Spain imported 1,217 tons of US zinc scrap in October, up 187.03% from 424 tons imported in September. Imports increased 382.57% on the year, with Spain taking in 1,800 tons in the January-October period, compared with 373 tons over the same time in 2021.

Exports to Malaysia fell 40.81% month on month to 689 tons in October, but increased 1,546.24% year on year, rising to 107,878 tons in January-October 2022, compared with 6,553 tons in the same period of 2021.

Lead scrap exports increased by 10.17% sequentially to 4,345 tons in October from 3,944 tons in September. For January-October, lead scrap exports increased by 11.38% to 37,847 tons from 33,979 tons the previous year.

In the month, India and South Korea were the top importers of US lead scrap, taking in 1,714 and 1,132 tons, respectively.

Nickel exports fell 4.12% on the month to 2,976 tons in October, from 3,104 tons in September. In January-October, nickel scrap exports rose 85.46% to 24,421 tons, up from 13,168 tons in 2021.

Year to date, Canada was the largest importer of US nickel scrap at 13,754 tons January - October, up by 56.40% from 8,794 tons in 2021.

Aluminium

Aluminium scrap exports excluding UBCs totaled 152,113 tons in October, up 4.08% from 146,146 tons in September. Exports for the January-October period fell by 8.21% to 1,455,434 tons from 1,585,645 tons in the first ten months of 2021.

Malaysia was the top importer in October at 35,803 tons, down 10.02% from 39,791 tons in September. From January-October, the country imported 314,957 tons, down 26.02% from 425,758 tons in the same period in 2021. Year to date, Malaysia took up 21.64% of market share of US aluminium scrap exports, compared with 26.85% of market share in 2021.

India was second, taking in 32,113 tons in October, up 7.63% from 29,836 tons in September. For the first ten months of this year, India imported 305,065 tons, up 4.42% from 292,154 tons in January-October 2021. On the year, India took 20.96% of market share of US aluminium scrap exports, up from 18.42% of market share in 2021.

South Korea ranked third, taking in 23,688 tons in October, up 13.81% month on month. In January-October, imports also rose 12.16% to 236,298 tons in 2022, compared with 210,688 tons in the same period of 2021. In year-on-year comparisons, South Korea took up 16.24% of market share, up from 13.29% of market share in 2021.

On a percentage basis, year-to-date exports to China had the highest drop with 4,152 tons shipped in January-October, down 56.51% from 9,548 tons year on year. Imports also fell 22.10% month on month to 765 tons imported in October, compared with 982 tons in September. China’s market share for January-October fell to 0.29% in 2022, compared with 0.60% in 2021.

Meanwhile, exports to Turkey had the largest percentage increase, rising by 58.58% to 10,338 tons in January-October from 6,519 tons in the same period a year before. Exports to Turkey also increased 15.76% month on month to 191 tons in October from 165 tons in August. Market share also grew to 0.71% in the first ten months of 2022, compared with 0.41% in 2021.

UBC exports declined 9.02% in October to 35,634 tons, down from 39,167 tons the previous month. Year to date, exports of UBCs rose 36.47% to 367,620 tons from 269,379 tons in the first ten months of 2021.

India remained the largest importer of UBCs in October, despite a 20.59% decrease month on month. The country took in 12,895 tons of UBCs in October, down from 16,238 tons in September. Year to date, India’s imports increased 38.97% to 132,503 tons in January-October 2022, from 95,345 tons in 2021.

Mexico surpassed Malaysia to be the second-largest UBC importer, accepting 6,134 tons in October, up 9.67% from the 5,593 taken in September. Year to date, Mexico’s imports of UBCs have climbed exponentially to 56,269 tons taken in January-October, up 461.17% from 10,027 tons in 2021.

Malaysia was the third-largest UBC importer, with the country accepting 5,685 tons in October, down 11.34% from 6,412 tons in September. Year to date, imports to Malaysia increased 2.68% to 46,517 tons in January-October, compared with 45,303 tons in the same period of 2021.

Copper

US copper scrap exports totaled 88,779 tons in October, up 7.75% from 82,392 tons in September. Shipments for the first ten months of the year also increased by 4.34% to 872,333 tons from 836,047 tons in 2021.

Shipments to China, the biggest buyer of US copper scrap, rose 21.47% to 27,632 tons in October, up from 22,748 tons in September. On a year-to-date basis, deliveries to China rose by 28.44% to 269,275 tons from 209,646 tons in January-October 2021. China’s market share also grew in the year to 30.87%, up from 25.08% during the first ten months of 2021.

India was the second-leading destination, importing 10,658 tons of copper scrap in October, up 3.31% from 10,317 tons taken in September. US copper scrap exports to India increased 78.39% in year-to-date volumes, to 82,188 tons in January-October from 46,073 tons in the same period of 2021. India’s market share similarly increased to 9.42% in 2022, up from 5.51% in 2021.

Canada came in third, with 9,846 tons imported in October, up 14.06% from 8,632 tons imported in September. Canada imported 100,996 tons of copper scrap in the first ten months of 2022, down 6.17% from 107,638 tons the year before. Over the same period, Canada’s market share percentage dropped to 11.58%, from 12.87% in 2021.

Year to date, Malaysia had the biggest percentage decrease in imported tons. For January-October, the country imported 61,430 tons, down 58.43% from 147,781 tons in the first ten months of 2021. Malaysia’s market share in the same period also declined by more than 10%, reaching 7.04% in 2022, compared with 17.68% in 2021.

Turkey continued to have the highest year-on-year increase, with 3,417 tons imported in the first ten months of 2022, up 319.26% from the 815 tons taken in the same period in 2021. Turkey’s market share saw a small percentage increase, with the country taking 0.39% of US imports in 2022 compared with 0.10% in 2021.

Imports to the United Arab Emirates also exponentially increased in October, with the country taking in 1,041 tons, up 515.98% from the 169 tons taken in September. Year-on-year, imports to the UAE increased by 27.55%, and the percentage of market share increased to 0.73%.

Prices

Aluminium UBC prices decreased in September when exporters booked their tonnages for October.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the aluminium scrap used beverage cans, domestic aluminium producer buying price, fob shipping point US began September at 74-78 cents per lb and fell to 68-72 cents per lb during the month. The price was last assessed at 73-78 cents per lb on December 8.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the copper scrap No1 bare bright, discount, buying price, delivered to brass ingot makers remained unchanged in September, spending the entire month at 8-11 cents per lb. The discount was last assessed at 8-12 cents per lb on December 7.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the lead scrap whole batteries buying price, delivered smelters US declined in September, starting the month at $23-25 per hundredweight and ending at $19-22 per cwt. The price was last assessed at $20-24 per cwt on December 13.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the zinc scrap new zinc clippings buying price, delivered smelters US saw a slight decrease in September, starting the month at 88-91 cents per lb and ending at 86-89 cents per lb. The price was last assessed at 86-90 cents per lb on December 13.

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