ferrous scrap shredded
Steel scrap buyers in China are reportedly gaining confidence they can clear the customs inspection process at ports in that nation.
Photo by Brian Taylor

China bringing in Japanese, South Korean ferrous scrap

Importers there are reportedly gaining confidence ferrous shred can clear customs and may soon make inquiries in the U.S. market.

May 31, 2021

Chinese ferrous scrap imports in April of this year nearly tripled the volume brought in the month before as mills and brokers gain confidence some shipments can pass the customs inspection process.

An online report from London-based Argus Media, citing General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) data, says while about 25,000 metric tons of ferrous scrap entered China in the first three months of the year, April saw a monthly import volume of nearly 61,000 metric tons.

In 2020, steelmaking associations in China worked with government bureaus and agencies to enact a system and set of standards so they could import ferrous scrap. At the beginning of this year, an analysis by Shanghai Metals Market (SMM) spelled out reasons why Chinese mills could be active in the global market in 2021.

According to Argus, high-grade ferrous scrap from Japan and South Korea have been the “safest” shipments to import initially, but some buyers have been able to clear ferrous shred shipments while others are trying to bring in Nos. 1 and 2 heavy melting steel (HMS) blends.

The media outlet also says buyers in China may soon turn to shippers based in Europe and the United States if they sense the regional East Asia market cannot provide enough ferrous scrap.

The April GACC data cited by Argus shows nearly 77 percent of the ferrous scrap imported by China in April came from Japan, followed by slightly less than 20 percent from South Korea, about 2.8 percent from Hong Kong, and the remaining small balance coming from Malaysia and an “others” category.