US containerized ferrous scrap prices increased on the East Coast but were mostly rangebound on the West Coast on Thursday in a trend that mirrored last week’s market movements.
Active buyer inquiries and higher seller offers defined the market activity on the East Coast this week. Indian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani buyers were cautiously active, though some withdrew from the market pending domestic assessments against rising COVID-19 cases. Some suppliers also slowed down their bookings preferring to wait for more cues from the US domestic ferrous trading week that will start next week.
In May, the US domestics ferrous market is expected to trade from sideways to an additional $10-20/gt against April settled prices. There is some optimism on the appetite for scrap by US mills in a period of ever-higher finished steel prices despite concerns over seasonality and mills trying to push down prices if insufficient export vessels are booked.
Turkish import scrap prices have increased globally, and the latest deals are supporting positive expectations from ferrous exporters.
Japanese export scrap offers have increased over the past week with support from domestic demand. Steel prices in most scrap buying regions are predominantly flat or rangebound with some expectations of improved demand. Additional buying activity is expected after the lull due to Ramadan for Turkey and other Asian countries as well as a return from the Japanese Golden Week holiday ending on May 5. Strong Japanese export prices will continue to sustain US-origin scrap price levels.
In New York, the weekly Davis Indexes rose by $5-10/mt with #1 busheling and machine shop turnings climbing by $9/mt to $452/mt fas and $378/mt, respectively. HMS 1&2 (80:20) and shredded rose by $7/mt to $402/mt fas and $417/gt, respectively, and P&S 5ft climbed by $5/mt to $431/mt fas on strong demand.
Containerized indexes on the West Coast were mostly rangebound following limited trades with some buyers succeeding in reducing prices by $5/mt while others were eager for material and began discussing higher bid levels. Still, sellers could not commit to those prices due to containerized booking constraints.
Export prices were wide in Los Angeles, with some buyers pushing down while others were seeking scrap inventories depending on freight and access to containers but overall average levels were flat. Market participants anticipate freight to rise in May and June placing additional pressure on broker margins.
The weekly Los Angeles containerized scrap indexes rose by $2-3/mt depending on grade. The index for #1 busheling rose by $3/mt to $407/mt fas as HMS 1&2 (80:20) remained unchanged $373/mt fas, and P&S 5ft and shredded climbed by $2/mt to $396/mt fas each.
In San Francisco, the weekly indexes were flat after losing $2-4/mt over the previous week with #1 busheling at $389/mt fas, HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $364/mt fas, P&S 5ft at $384/mt fas, and shredded at $383/mt fas.
Seattle’s Davis Indexes encountered the same flat market like San Francisco with #1 busheling at $388/mt fas and HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $362/mt fas. P&S 5ft and shredded indexes both remained at $383/mt fas.