NEW YORK Minimal interest from Mexico and other export
markets, coupled with little change in demand from Texas steel
mills, has left scrap dealers disappointed as prices failed to
gain the traction they had hoped for.
Most market participants in the Texas region said increases in
scrap prices for March were anywhere between $15 and $30 higher
per gross ton, depending on scrap grade, mill location and the
February price level. For the most part, obsolete scrap grades
settled March 8 at $20 above Februarys level, with prime
gaining an additional $5, according to several sources.
Many dealers suggested the increases were insufficient given
much stronger trends recorded in the Midwest, and they
questioned how effective this months increase would be in
improving the flow of obsolete scrap to dealer yards.
Sources said a weak domestic market in Mexico, which traded
sideways for March, meant that many Mexican mills refused to
follow the Texas market up $20 per ton.
The Texas market was then left to the demand from its own
mills, which has been steady but not entirely strong for the
past few months, one source said. So dealers
didnt get the big increases they were seeing in other
regions. Domestic mills were able to control the price
However, a buyer for one mill said the increases were
I do not consider paying upwards of $15 to $30 per gross
ton this month controlling the jump. Plate and structural scrap
seemed to be the grade that was hard to find this month, but we
were able to meet the needs of the melt shop, he said.
A third source called demand from mills a mixed bag since
Ive gotten very mixed feedback. It seems like
demand from mill to mill is distinctively different, he
said. Some mills are having a hard time getting what they
need, and others dont need or want much. Mexico needs to
buy, but the Mexican market was sideways, so it made it hard
for them to buy scrap from us.
A fourth source said Mexican demand dipped last month and has
yet to recover.
Mexico-bound scrap volume was much reduced in February.
Heavy melt, (plate and structural) and shredded sold for around
$350, $360 and $370, respectively, he said.
Theres a lot of scrap available in South Texas. We
did not buy any for our Mexico customers, though.
Little interest from Turkey and a near standstill in
containerized scrap exports to India have also contributed to
the lack of competition for ferrous scrap in areas that can
ship through export yards, according to a few sources.
It started off like a ball of fire and then frizzled out.
A lot of dealers thought theyd be able to control the
mills because they thought mills hadnt bought much in the
past months, a fifth source said. But mills felt
they dont need to pay that much to run this month out and
wait for April.