Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Japan ferrous scrap exports declined to 501,006mt in January, down by 24pc from a year ago on slow steel demand in the Asia countries ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. Ferrous scrap exports were down by 33pc from 747,220mt in December, according to Japan’s customs data.


High iron ore prices and tight supply of scrap from the US and Europe supported higher Japanese scrap prices in January. Vietnam was the top destination for Japanese ferrous scrap suppliers in January with imports of 204,149mt, down by 4pc from the prior year and down by 30pc from December. Vietnamese preferred Japanese scrap as it was competitively priced against US supplies and available at shorter transit time. 

Japan ferrous scrap export in January (mt)
CountryJan-21Dec-20Change MoMJan-20Change YoY
Vietnam    204,149    293,565 -30pc    213,106 -4pc
South Korea    155,792    256,924 -39pc    276,112 -44pc
Taiwan        76,844       47,280 63pc        83,298 -8pc
Bangladesh        31,782       87,680 -64pc        43,419 -27pc
Malaysia        19,770       24,857 -20pc        14,841 33pc
China          5,985             349 1617pc              820 630pc
India          2,485          4,848 -49pc          4,644 -46pc
Thailand          2,125       14,377 -85pc          7,018 -70pc
Indonesia          1,177       15,047 -92pc        10,064 -88pc
Others              897          2,293 -61pc          1,932 -54pc
Total    501,006    747,220 -33pc    655,252 -24pc


Exports to South Korea, Japan’s second biggest scrap importer, fell to 155,792mt, down by 44pc from a year ago and down by 39pc from the prior month as steelmakers in Korea bought domestic scrap instead of high-priced seaborne material. Imports from Taiwan also fell in January to 76,844mt, down by 8pc from a year ago, while up 63pc from December as mills restocked scrap inventories ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday and amid short supply of domestic scrap.


With the resumption of ferrous scrap imports into China on Jan 1, importers booked 5,985mt scrap from Japan most of which was on a test basis. Chinese mills are keen on buying scrap from Japanese suppliers for shorter transit and exemption of 2pc import duty accorded to Japan through the most-favoured-nation (MFN) system.


Increased imports of Japanese scrap by Chinese steelmaker could be a game-changer for the global ferrous scrap market and keep prices elevated in the near terms. The first Japanese ferrous scrap export to China was for 3,002mt shipped to Shanghai Port and cleared by customs after some initial delays on Jan 29. The order was placed by Baowu group subsidiary Ouyeel. According CISA’s provisional data, in January, four deals were concluded by Chinese buyers which totalled 10,800mt and three of them were for February deliveries.

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