Ferrous Scrap Prices Drift Lower in July

Ferrous Scrap Prices Drift Lower in July

Grades drop from $15 to $45 per ton across all regions, according to RMDAS survey.

July 21, 2010
Recycling Today Staff

Spot market scrap buyers were able to pay from $15 to $47 per ton less for their ferrous scrap in the July buying period, according to pricing survey data of the Raw Material Data Aggregation Service (RMDAS), compiled by Management Science Associates’ (MSA), Pittsburgh. (To view the RMDAS numbers, click here)

Prices in the July buying period ranged from a low of $291 per ton for No. 1 heavy melting steel (HMS) in the South region to $425 per ton for prompt industrial composite grades paid by mill buyers in the North Central/East region.

All grades of ferrous scrap were available to mill buyers for less in July, with the prompt industrial composite grades (new production scrap consisting of #1 busheling, #1 bundles and #1 factory bundles) falling the most in value—by $32 per ton an average nationwide.

Regionally, some of the sharpest falls took place in the RMDAS North Midwest region (consisting of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the northwest corner of Indiana). In that region, mills paid an average of $47 per ton less for prompt grades; $35 per ton less for No. 2 shredded scrap and $25 per ton less for No. 1 HMS.

Recyclers are seeing scrap supply decline along with the prices in some cases. A scrap recycler in New England describes generation as being down “considerably,” with some factories slowing down for the summer season.

Another recycler says the amount of construction and demolition scrap may be up compared to the winter months, but that considering the time of year the amount of scrap being generated from this sector is disappointing.

On the demand side, domestic steelmaking activity in June stayed roughly equivalent to May’s figures, according to the Worldsteel Association, Brussels. Steelmakers in the United States made 7.2 million metric tons of steel in June, up slightly from the 7.17 million metric tons churned out in May.

Globally, there were signs of either seasonal slowdowns or economies cooling down, based on June versus May figures.

China, the world’s largest steelmaker, slipped from making 56.1 million metric tons in May to 53.8 million metric tons in June. A holiday period in June could be part of the reason, although both figures and government pronouncements from China are pointing to a slower overall rate of economic growth in that nation in 2010 compared to the preceding several years.

China’s steel production figure was not the only to decline in June compared to the month before. Producers in Germany scaled back from 4 million metric tons to closer to 3.8 million, and Russia’s mills produce about 400,000 tons less steel.

Total steel produced in the 66 nations reporting to Worldsteel fell from 124.2 million metric tons in May 2010 to 118.7 million metric tons in June 2010.

The Raw Material Data Aggregation Service (RMDAS) Ferrous Scrap Price Index is based on data gathered from a statistically significant compilation of verified ferrous scrap purchase transactions.

RMDAS is a service of Management Science Associates Inc. (MSA), Pittsburgh. Those seeking more information about RMDAS can contact MSA’s Jeralyn Brown at 724-265-6574 or via e-mail at JBrown@MSA.com.