US export aluminum scrap prices were mixed on Thursday. Demand for auto-intensive scrap such as A356 wheels and Tense declined while zorba continued to strengthen in Asia.
The weekly Davis Index for Taint/Tabor increased by 0.3¢/lb to 76.5¢/lb fas US port while the index for Tense fell by the same amount to 76.2¢/lb fas. Mill-grade scrap A356 wheels declined by 0.9¢/lb to 99.1¢/lb fas. Meanwhile, the weekly index for Talk settled at 2.07¢/lb fas, down 2.3¢/lb, due to weaker terminal prices for copper.
The Davis Index for Zorba 95/2 moved up by 1.4¢/lb to 74.1¢/lb fas US port while Zorba 99/3 jumped by 1.3¢/lb to 75.3¢/lb fas. Countries such as India, South Korea, and Malaysia raised their bids for Zorba amid stiff competition and increasingly less scrap available for export as domestic smelters returned to this market. The rally in LME Aluminium prices also drove prices higher, according to market participants. The official LME Aluminium cash price closed Thursday at $2,694/mt ($1.195/lb), up $59/mt from Aug 26.
The export market is currently facing various headwinds that have caused prices to increase for all non-ferrous scrap. Port congestion on the West Coast, the lack of export equipment to load-unload material, and a shortage of containers headed for Asia have left very little room for exporters. Still, these Asian countries are experiencing a dearth of scrap and are now switching to imports from the Middle East to ease logistical woes and high freight rates.