RMDAS ferrous prices show sharp decline

RMDAS ferrous prices show sharp decline

Scrap prices fall between $32 and $42 per ton in September.

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September 20, 2019

Scrap prices across the U.S. hit an all-time low in September, according to Raw Material Data Aggregation Service (RMDAS) ferrous scrap pricing measured by Pittsburgh-based Management Science Associates Inc. (MSA).

After pricing for most ferrous scrap grades rose $20 per ton in August, mills paid $274 per ton prompt industrial composite grade, $252 for shredded scrap and $221 for No. heavy melting steel (HMS) in September. In the U.S., prompt industrial grades dropped $41 per ton, while shredded scrap fell $36 per ton and HMS fell $37 per ton.

Regionally, prompt industrial composite fell the sharpest in the South, dropping $42 per ton from $327 in August to $285 in September. In addition, shredded scrap fell by $41 per ton in the South from $298 to $257. HMS fell by $41 per ton in both the North Midwest and the South.

Despite hopes for price stabilization through the rest of the year, most ferrous scrap grades are still down nearly $100 from January of this year.

“I think there’s some uncertainty about what the heck is going on out there,” says a scrap dealer in the Great Lakes region.

Steel companies shared their predictions during recent earnings guidance calls, predicting declines in ferrous prices in their third quarter results. Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Fort Wayne, Indiana, says it’s anticipating lower pricing for its finished steel and metals recycling division to reduce profits in the third quarter.

Nucor Corp., Charlotte, North Carolina, also anticipates it will have decreased earnings for the third quarter due to low steel prices.