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All quiet after end-of-year price boost

Scrap prices for freight heading to Turkey continued to rise through November and December with the other global markets mirroring this continuing rise. But trading activity cooled across global markets as the year came to a close with a slow return to work in 2020.

Prices for ferrous scrap shipped to Turkey moved upwards throughout November with a Baltic sea and a US cargo both obtaining US$ 260 per tonne cfr for HMS I/II 80/20 booked early in the month. Tonnages continued to be booked, with several Baltic origin cargoes achieving US$ 261-262 per tonne.

Finished steel products struggled to achieve sufficient sales at higher prices due to weaker demand, thereby not justifying the purchase of more raw materials, which put pressure on margins. Despite higher winter collection costs, the upcoming slow holiday month ahead prompted an appetite for restocking.

Prices jumped as November came to a close with a US cargo of HMS I/II 80/20 climbing to US $272 per tonne, up from the US$ 260 per tonne already mentioned for the beginning of the month. Scrap buyers in Turkey slowed the pace of procurement temporarily after failing to pass on the higher costs in finished steel sales.

When buying resumed in December, the sharp upward path continued with a Baltic-sea origin seller booking HMS I/II 80/20 at US$ 280 and then US$ 289 per tonne. US cargoes were booked variously at US$ 295 per tonne, US$ 297 and then above the US$ 300 mark.

A handful of Baltic sea cargoes achieved HMS I/II 80/20 at US$ 297-299 per tonne before catching up with US prices, even reaching US$ 303 per tonne ahead of the markets closing for Christmas, after which no new deals were reported before the month end.

January began slowly, with no trading activity in the first week. At the time of writing, two European cargoes were booked with HMS I/II 80/20 at US$ 297 per tonne, a slight dip as margins continue to be eroded while a UK cargo achieved US$ 300 per tonne.

You can read the full market analysis in our latest issue.

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