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Vietnamese ferrous scrap imports in April free-fall

Vietnam’s April ferrous scrap imports shrank by 38% to 400 000 tonnes compared to the same month last year because of coronavirus-related restrictions.

Overall, January-April imports rose 20.5% to 1.8 million tonnes from a year earlier but, during April itself, they declined by almost 20% on March, reports Argus Metals Media based on Vietnamese customs data.

Vietnamese mill outlooks turned negative after the Covid-19 outbreak spread globally, making scrap procurement more cautious than early February. More mills ran at lower capacity in response to weakened demand during the pandemic.

Imports from Japan in April fell 9% from March but were up 56% on a year earlier. Japan’s market share of Vietnam’s imports surged to 60% in January-April from 38% during the same period last year. Imports from the US fell by 65% on the month.

Vietnamese buyers are minimising risk by buying smaller bulk vessel cargoes from Japan and Hong Kong. Imports from Australia soared from a small base, up by 3.7% but down 57% from a year earlier.

Similar trend across Asia

Vietnam’s reduced scrap imports were in line with the trend of other major Asian buyers, which reduced scrap imports in April as Covid-19 continued to rampage the global economy. Taiwan’s imports fell by 10% from March and by 8.7% on the year, while South Korea’s imports fell by 10.6% from March and by 22% from a year earlier.

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