RMDAS prices show ferrous market rebound

RMDAS prices show ferrous market rebound

Mill buying price transactions show $20 per ton gains for nearly all grades in all regions in March.

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March 21, 2019

Raw Material Data Aggregation (RMDAS) ferrous scrap pricing as measured by mill purchases by Pittsburgh-based MSA Inc. has demonstrated a healthy $20 per ton average rebound in March.

The RMDAS price averages, released March 20, cover a buying period that reaches into the third week of any given month. For March, this led to shredded scrap prices that rose by $20 per ton on average, while the RMDAS prompt industrial composite grade rose by $21 and its No. 1 heavy melting steel (HMS) grade rose by $19 nationally.

Regionally, prompt grades rose slightly more sharply in the South, by $24 per ton, while they increased in value by just $20 per ton in the RMDAS North Central/East region. Nonetheless, prompt grades retain the highest value in the North Central/East at $389 per ton compared with $386 in the North Midwest and $379 in the South.

The two obsolete grades (shredded and No. 1 HMS) rose between $19 or $21 per ton in all three regions. In March, mills in the South paid a little less for shredded scrap ($354 per ton) compared with those in the other two regions ($348 per ton). However, mills in the South paid slightly more for No. 1 HMS, at an average of $329 per ton compared with $327 in the North Midwest and $325 in the North Central/East.

Recyclers note sporadic weather disruptions in March, some affecting road traffic and others barge traffic, causing some mills to bid higher for scrap from sellers who could make shipping arrangements. A processor in Detroit, however, says “flows have been good” overall in the late winter in terms of material arriving in yards.

Increased export buying also seems to be playing a role, with scrap processors on both coasts saying buyers in Asia have continued to bid on ferrous scrap in the North American market. In some cases, opportunistic buyers swooped in after the February price drop. In other cases, steelmakers in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent continue to enjoy strong output and need the scrap.