TURKEY March 09 2017 5:36 PM
ANKARA (Scrap Register): Turkish HMS 1/2 80:20 scrap import monthly average prices (CFR Iskenderun Port, Turkey) tumbled by 4.2 percent month-on-month to $262.60 a ton during the month of February, as per the latest figures from the Steel Index.
Prices increased from $228 a ton at the start of January on a near daily basis up until the final week, where they plateaued around the $280 a ton mark.
The first week of February saw scrap prices begin to recover from the near 22% decline seen over January. US sellers were reluctant to sell below $240 a ton at the start of the month, instead choosing to let mills up their offers as they knew scrap was in demand.
Demand from finished and semi-finished steel products remained tempered in Europe, however China began to show some demand, giving optimism to mills who were having margins squeezed on the back of the scrap price increase. General consensus in the market is that mills are profitable above a $150 a ton margin.
The continued rise came about partly as a natural re-balancing following the crash in prices seen in January, as well as increasingly bullish fundamentals adding support. Moreover, a flurry of selling from US and EU suppliers may also have led to a tightening scrap supply.
The situation in the middle of the month saw a near total reversal from January, as mills were looking to buy aggressively while several sellers came back into the market. Prices for Turkish rebar also continued to climb with scrap prices, thus helping to preserve margins for mills. The ferrous complex as a whole enjoyed a very bullish period throughout February, with iron ore hitting a 30-month high and finished steel products prices also seeing considerable increases.
The back-end of the month saw scrap prices plateauing in the $280 a ton region, in turn resulting in uncertainty creeping into the market, as participants were wary of which direction prices would go. Some believed mills were nearing the upper limit of their price tolerance, whilst others looked to the US domestic market, where significant price rises were expected for March Buy Week.
Scrap trading activity picked up in the final days of the month, but all trades were basically at sideways levels, again perhaps indicating that the market may be waiting for the US to finalise prices.