Global scrap markets remain strong to end the year

The rate of increase in deepsea Turkish import scrap prices slowed over the week to Dec. 31, amid the usual holiday slowdown, with deepsea scrap exporters expected to wait for domestic settlements in the US and EU markets for January contracts before offering into Turkey.

Recyclers are expecting the Turkish import scrap market to remain firm in January, with some targeting $480-$490/mt CFR for premium HMS 1/2 (80:20) in the near-term. S&P Global Platts assessed Turkish imports of premium heavy melting scrap 1/2 (80:20) at $477.50/mt CFR on Dec. 31, up $2.50/mt on week.

The January buy week is set to kick off early the week of Jan 4 in the US. Prices on all grades are once again expected to jump, with predictions ranging from up $60/lt to up $100/lt from December pricing. In addition to the strength in export markets, mill demand remains strong as domestic US finished steel prices are at historically high levels and mills have extended lead times on full orderbooks.

The Japanese scrap market dipped for the first time in 13 weeks, as some sellers were heard showing interest to lock in profits on on-hand cargoes.

Offers for H2 scrap to Vietnam were heard at $460/mt CFR Taiwan mid-week, down from a range of $470-$475/mt CFR the week prior.

Tradable levels for H2 cargoes to South Korea were cited flat on week, at Yen 44,000-44,500/mt FOB ($425-$430/mt) Dec. 24.

Meanwhile, containerized scrap prices held flat, with HMS I/II 80:20 tradable values cited at $445-$450/mt CFR Dec. 24, unchanged on the week.

While general sentiment remained firm, some regional trading sources began shifting expectations towards a softer one, as they noted seeing signs of “exhaustion” from buyers regarding the multi-year high prices of scrap.

Workable Indian import prices for containerized shred material continued to rise, but trading sources cited concerns over the sustainability of record high prices, sources said. Platts assessed India import containerized shredded scrap at $470/mt CFR Nhava Sheva Dec. 31, up $20/mt on the week to reach a new record high since the assessment was launched in December 2014.