The US containerized ferrous scrap prices are at a standstill with downward pressure until buyers and sellers receive further clarity on the direction of the market.
Market participants have told Davis Index that the evolution and policy actions set by the government to contain the COVID-19 virus is setting the tone for limited business transactions this week. No new offers were reported on the US East Coast with buyers taking a day-to-day approach as they await active deliveries in transit, which may result in delayed buys until mid-April for May shipments.
Buyers are referencing the lack of container availability, higher freight costs, and policy uncertainties on the virus containment, as influencers in their inability to actively bid for scrap loads from the US.
In New York, the Davis Indexes decreased by $3/mt for #1busheling to $275/mt fas, and by $4/mt to $244/mt fas for HMS 1&2 (80:20). The index for machine turnings decreased by $2/mt to $213/mt fas, while P&S 5ft declined by $5/mt to $264/mt fas and shredded decreased by $4/mt to $264/mt fas.
The Davis Index in Los Angeles decreased by $4/mt for #1busheling to $231/mt fas. It decreased for HMS 1&2 (80:20) by $5/mt to $211/mt fas, for P&S 5ft by $5/mt to $228/mt fas and for shredded by $5/mt to $228/mt fas. From Los Angeles, HMS 1&2 (80:20) is reported at $230/mt cfr Taiwan with limited activity.
In San Francisco the Davis Indexes decreased by $3/mt for #1busheling to $243/mt fas and by $4/mt to $218/mt fas for HMS 1&2 (80:20). The index for P&S 5ft declined by $3/mt to $240/mt fas and shredded decreased by $3/mt to $240/mt fas.
The Davis Index in Seattle decreased by $5/mt for #1busheling to $243/mt fas. It dropped for HMS 1&2 (80:20) by $6/mt to $217/mt, for P&S 5ft by $5/mt to $243/mt fas, and for shredded by $3/mt to $240/mt fas.
Sellers on both coasts stated that April would be a trying month for the industry. Other market participants have acknowledged a trend towards lower price expectations given the US domestic ferrous scrap outlook for April but also highlighted that so much more than price was at play this week.
The US domestic scrap market could trend down in April with expectations of $20-30/gt ($20-30mt) which is providing an additional incentive for buyers to delay making bids during uncertain times. Several exporters stated that their inventories, though “way off lower than normal,” would trickle into the domestic scrap trading week in April if containerized exports continue to remain weak.