US Scrap Trends Outlook: September

Bulls increasingly optimistic for higher scrap prices in September

Outlook for steel scrap prices in September

A resurgence in deep-sea ferrous scrap exports in August and the gradual abatement of the summer doldrums, along with tight supply, are giving rise to growing bullish sentiment for the September US ferrous trade.


The Trend Indicator continues to escalate into increasingly bullish territory, at 61.3 in September versus 52.2 in August. The Trend Indicator was a significantly more bearish 39.4 in July. The Outlook’s prediction model allows for an average month-on-month price increase of 6.7%. Learn more.


Just over half of survey respondents – 52.83% – expect prices to rise month on month in the upcoming trade, with a majority – 35.85% – attributing this potential increase to lower scrap supply. Among respondents, 30.19% believe that scrap will trade sideways in September.


Over half of participants are taking a similarly bullish forward view of the US ferrous scrap market, with 59.62% and 59.40% saying that prices will continue to move higher over the next three and six months respectively.


Exactly 50% of participants believe that cut scrap grades will be the best performing over the next three months, while 38.46% gave the nod to prime grades.


Pre-trade chatter alludes to potential September increases of $10-20 per gross ton for cut scrap, specifically heavy melt and plate and structural, amid tight flows of material and a resurgence in export activity. Learn more.


New direction for steel prime scrap grades

Opinions have changed regarding the direction prime scrap grades will take.  Some now suggest that prices may be pushed lower while mills look to increase the spread between busheling and hot-rolled coil, with prices for the latter having moved progressively lower.  A slew of HRC mill maintenance outages is exacerbating the situation.


The market is eyeing the mills’ negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the outcomes of which are slated for mid-September; halted vehicle stamping could increase mills’ reliance on shredded material in HRC production amid reduced prime generation.


Confidence in market direction has dipped, with overall trend consensus for September dropping to 59% from 63% in August and 60% in July.



Make sense of the US steel scrap market and track the critical indicators impacting steel scrap price movements in our latest outlook.

What to read next
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