December transaction prices tracked by the Raw Material Data Aggregation Service (RMDAS), which are released to non-RMDAS customers about 10 days after Fastmarkets AMM Midwest Index ferrous scrap prices, show similar $80 per ton price rises for high-volume grades of the material.
The RMDAS figures, collected by Pittsburgh-based MSA Inc., divide monthly mill buying activity into three geographic United States regions. December price trends showed some minor differences between regions and grades, most notably prices rising more in the East Coast port market compared with the inland North Midwest region.
In the RMDAS North Central/East region, which includes the New England states, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, most of Indiana and parts of North Carolina and Virginia, the price of shredded scrap rose by $85 per ton, while prompt industrial composite grade rose by $83.
In the North Midwest region, which includes Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northwest Indiana, shredded scrap gained just $77 per ton in value, while the composite grade rose by $79 per ton.
The South region tracked more closely with the North Midwest grade pricing, with shredded scrap gaining $78 in value, and prompt grades rising by $80. Prompt scrap sold for more than $400 per ton on average in the South, making it the only grade in any region to reach that benchmark in December.
MSA’s RMDAS system tracks only domestic steel mill buying of scrap and not exports, meaning it has never had a region covering only the western U.S. That region of the country will have one less melt shop in 2021, with the permanent closing of the long-time electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
However, Commercial Metals Co. (CMC), which is closing that California mill, is adding EAF capacity at its Mesa, Arizona, facility. Both CMC and Nucor Corp. now have melt shop capacity in Arizona.