Steel Products Prices North America

US Scrap Exports Down 7.2% Through April

Written by Peter Wright

In the first four months of this year bulk scrap exports were 4,421,000 tons for an annual rate of 13,263,000 tons tonnes, down by 7.2 percent from the first four months of last year.

The tonnages shown in Figure 1 are based on three month moving averages for 2015 and on the twelve month monthly average for previous years.

The graph shows that exports declined for three consecutive years, 2012 through 2014, and continued through January and February this year. March saw a trend reversal that continued in April. In the twelve months of 2014, scrap exports totaled 15,308,000 tonnes, down by 17.1percent from the same period in 2013. Early reports of May shipments are mixed with the AMM reporting on May 13th that East Coast bookings to Turkey had surged in response to a tightening of the European market. There had even been one 25,000 ton sale to Turkey from the West Coast. On May 28th AMM did an about face and reported that an absence of bulk scrap export sales was keeping prices on the East Coast stable. Activity was also scarce on the West Coast with no new bulk sales in the past week.

In the single month of April, Turkey and Taiwan switched places as # 1 and #2 destination. Turkey had a volume of 304,000 tons followed by Taiwan with 264,000 tonnes. Turkey’s buy is still low by historical standards and continues to be depressed by the depreciated values of the Euro and Ruble. Figure 1 is calculated on a 3MMA basis and by that reckoning Turkey’s purchases declined in March and April. Shipments to the Far East through the first four months were up by 20.7percent from last year. YTD through April exports to Canada were down by 21.8percent and to Mexico were up by 19.2percent. Exports to India have almost doubled y/y and to South Korea have been cut in half. China has exactly the same volume year over year.

Shipments to secondary buying nations totaled 141,000 tonnes in April. Of this 43,000 tonnes shipped to Pakistan, 24,000 tonnes to Italy, 22,000 tonnes to Kuwait and 29,000 tonnes to Singapore.

Scrap export prices are reported by the AMM every Tuesday for an 80:20 mix of #1 and #2 heavy melt in US $ per tonne FOB New York and Los Angeles for bulk tonnage sales. The price on the West Coast increased by $21 to $255 on May 18th and was unchanged on May 25th and June 3rd. On the East Coast the price increased by $14 to $269.50 on May 18th, was unchanged on the 25th then rose by another $1.50 on June 3rd. The price of Chicago shredded was up by $10 in May and $30 in June to $275. Chicago #1 busheling was unchanged in May and was also up $30 in June to $270. Note; Busheling was $5 cheaper than shredded in both May and June

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