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August 18, 2009

President Signs Auto-Scrapping Bill

President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that offers credit for consumers swapping low-gas-mileage cars for more fuel-efficient models.

The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) includes $1 billion in funding to pay for the program, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will manage. It is expected to run until Nov. 1, 2009, or until the funds are depleted.

Automobiles that qualify for the credit must be no older than 25 years, get 18 miles per gallon or less and be in drivable condition. The trade-in vehicles also will have to have been registered and insured continuously for the past year.

The credit, either $3,500 or $4,500, depends on the type of vehicle purchased and the difference in fuel economy relative to the trade-in.

The law calls for the trade-in vehicle to be destroyed. This could translate into a jump in the number of vehicles that will be delivered to auto shredders. The law requires the dealer to disclose an estimate of the scrap value of the trade-in vehicle to the consumer. The scrap value will be in addition to the rebate and not in place of it.

CARS also establishes requirements and procedures for the disposal of eligible trade-in vehicles.

More information on CARS is available at www.cars.gov.

Organizations Form Steel Scrap Futures Exchange

Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE) and World Steel Dynamics (WSD), Englewood Cliffs, N.J., have jointly formed World Steel Exchange (WSE) to list futures contracts initially for steel scrap. The contracts will trade and clear on CCFE’s Internet-accessible trading platform, Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), and will be based on the SteelBenchmarker family of price indices and other indices.

"The trading of futures contracts on the World Steel Exchange will give those involved in buying or selling steel scrap, steel products and steelmakers’ raw materials the opportunity to hedge the price risk, which is a critical need given the volatility of prices in these sectors," says Peter Marcus, WSD’s managing partner.

The World Steel Exchange Marketing (WSEM), a new company, will support the WSW venture. "The WSEM’fs staff will become a valuable resource and support service, for no fee, for those seeking to manage the steel price risk," Marcus says.

The WSE expects to launch its first contracts later this year.

Sims Makes Acquisition

Sims Metal Management Ltd., based in Australia, has acquired U.S. recycler Fairless Iron & Metal.

Morrisville, Pa.-based Fairless operates two principal facilities. The Morrisville yard includes a mega-shredder, downstream nonferrous recovery systems and a deep water port. Fairless is the sister company of New Jersey-based Mercer Group International. (For more information on Fairless, see "Rising to Prominence" in the June 2009 issue of Recycling Today.)

World’s Steel Output Improves in May

World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the Brussels-based World Steel Association was 95.6 million metric tons in May, a 7 percent increase over the 88.9 million metric tons produced in April.

Compared to the record-setting output of 2008, production remains lower. The May 2009 total is 21 percent lower compared to the 121 million metric tons of steel produced in May of 2008.

China’s crude steel production for May 2009 was 46.5 million metric tons, 0.6 percent higher than that nation’s output for May of 2008.

But China was an exception in terms of May 2009 vs. May 2008 figures:

• Japan’s output declined by 38.5 percent compared to the same month last year.

• South Korea showed a decrease of 11.8 percent.

• Germany’s crude steel output declined 47.8 percent in May 2009 vs. May 2008.

• Spain produced 41.3 percent less steel than in May 2008.

• The United States produced 4.3 million metric tons of crude steel in May 2009, a decrease of 50.6 percent compared to the same month last year.

• Russia’s crude steel production for May 2009 was 4.7 million metric tons, a decrease of 31.2 percent compared to May of 2008.

• Turkey’s decline was less steep, down 16.1 percent in May 2008 vs. May 2009.

Year-to-date, world crude steel production for the first five months of 2009, as calculated by World Steel, was 449 million metric tons, a 22.4 percent decrease vs. the same period of 2008.

China’s production of 217.2 million metric tons of crude steel for the first five months of 2009 shows a slight increase of 0.4 percent vs. 2008 and makes up close to half of the global total for 2009.

Nucor Purchases Land in Louisiana

Nucor Steel Louisiana LLC has begun purchasing property in St. James Parish, La., for a proposed iron and steel facility. In May the company completed its first purchase of nearly 890 acres of land in St. James Parish for $16.3 million.

"While we understand that Nucor will not make a final site-selection decision until its air quality permit is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we certainly view the company’s decision to begin purchasing land to assemble the proposed site as a very positive indicator of Nucor’s interest in Louisiana," says Stephen Moret, Louisiana Economic Development secretary. "This project remains a top priority of our administration, and we are cautiously optimistic that Nucor ultimately will select Louisiana for this huge project. Louisiana offers a variety of compelling strategic advantages to Nucor, yet we would not be in this promising position today without the Mega Project Development Fund."

Last May Nucor announced its interest in building a pig iron plant in either Louisiana or Brazil. In a statement issued at the time, Dan DiMicco, Nucor’s chairman and CEO, notes: "Nucor would build one of the most modern iron making facilities in the world to produce 3 million tons of pig iron, employing the latest technologies to reduce emissions. At the same time, this project would help Nucor achieve our long-term goal of increasing control over our raw materials supply."