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US monthly scrap exports down on 2019

Latest trade data released by the US Commerce Department shows total US scrap exports in March were close to three million tonnes in March, which was up on the month before but down 8.8% on March 2019.

But the quarterly figures, pulled together by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, show that exports in Q1 2020 were just under nine million tonnes, slightly up on the same quarter in 2019.

The value of the Q1 scrap exports was up 11%, largely because of higher prices for precious metal scrap and heavier ferrous loadings.


Ferrous scrap exports (excluding stainless and alloy steel scrap) in Q1 increased more than 25% year-on-year to 4.1 million tonnes. The most significant gains were to Turkey, Malaysia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Thailand and Pakistan. Volumes to China are described as negligible.


China is now only fifth among major destinations for copper and aluminium scrap. So far this year, copper and copper alloy scrap exports were down 15.3% year-on-year.

Aluminium scrap exports were up slightly year-on-year in Q1 with greater demand from India, Malaysia and Thailand. Unsurprisingly, shipments to China were down 64.5%.

Recovered Paper and Fibre

Exports fell 14.5% in Q1 to 3 718 518 tonnes, down 628 075 tonnes on the same period a year ago. The top 15 countries receiving US exports account for 95% of the total exports in Q1, the same as a year ago. Burma, which did not receive any US paper scrap exports last year, is now 11th in the list.

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