By Paul Ploumis
May 08, 2017 01:30:58 PM
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has released the latest Ferrous World Mirror. The publication points out that scrap demand remained firm in most areas during the first quarter of 2017.
According to William Schmiedel, President, BIR ferrous division, the average finished steel exports from China declined sharply from over 9 million tons per month during the first half of the previous year to just under 7 million tons a month during Q1 ’17. The reduction in Chinese steel values has impacted markets across Asia. Further, this has led to softening of prices for finished steel in almost all countries. The utilization rate of electric arc furnaces in South East Asian countries has improved, resulting in increased imports of ferrous scrap. As per reports, China is believed to have exported HMS scrap to India and Bangladesh at around $265 per tonne during the initial months of 2017. Recent reports indicate that major electric furnace steel mills in East Asian countries are planning to buy Chinese scrap. Hyundai Steel and Tokyo Steel are believed to have started active consultations with regards to procurement of scrap from China.
Scrap buying activity resumed in India after a gap of almost four to five months, following the uncertainties caused by demonetization move. According to sources, buyers in the country are believed to have booked nearly six bulk cargoes in March and early April. The Japanese domestic market is expected to bottom out, as steel product demand is expected to increase during summer. However, developments in overseas market will have a direct impact on Japanese markets. Korean scrap imports surged higher by almost 11% year-on-year in March 2017.
Russia reported decline in scrap export volumes, mainly on account of rising freight costs and stronger domestic currency. Also, scrap collections were impacted by bad winter conditions. The Euro 30 per tonne scrap export tax on ferrous metals imposed in September last year has continued to impact scrap shipments out of that country, BIR Ferrous World Mirror noted.
The US scrap market has stabilized during the year. The scrap supplies have remained strong. Also domestic scrap demand has picked up. The US steel makers’ capacity utilization rates have jumped higher significantly to nearly 75% after hovering around at 70-72% for a long time. The country has witnessed sharp rise in steel demand by automotive and oil sector industries during the initial quarter of the year. According to data, the country’s ferrous scrap shipments totaled 2.1 million tonnes during Jan-Feb ’17, significantly higher by nearly 54% when matched with the corresponding period last year. The US ferrous scrap exports had totaled only 1.368 million tonnes during the first two months during the previous year. The upcoming elections and talks on Brexit are likely to lead to market uncertainty in European region. The scrap market volatility in the region is likely to last longer, BIR noted.
The US H1 scrap export prices averaged at $265.17 per long ton, as on 24th April, 2017. The prices have remained flat for the third consecutive week. The H1 scrap average price in Pittsburg was $274.50 per long ton, remaining unchanged over the previous week. In Chicago the prices averaged at $282.50 per ton, holding steady from last week. The average H1 scrap export price in Philadelphia was $238.50 per long ton, remaining flat compared with last week.