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US scrap exports down again in 2016

United States – From 11.696 million tonnes in 2015, America’s ferrous scrap exports slid 4% lower to 11.233 million tonnes last year. These totals compare to the 17.297 million tonnes shipped abroad as recently as 2013.

According to data from the Census Bureau and International Trade Commission, leading buyer Turkey slashed its US ferrous scrap purchases by more than 21% – from 3.961 million tonnes in 2015 to 3.123 million tonnes – while Taiwan and South Korea trimmed their orders by, respectively, 3.3% to 1.237 million tonnes and 19.5% to 829 414 tonnes.

Even India, whose crude steel production leapt more than 7% last year, reduced its US scrap requirements by 0.4% to 1.011 million tonnes.

Among the top five importers of US ferrous scrap, the only country to boost their purchases last year was Mexico with an increase of 29.3% to 1.384 million tonnes. Chinese imports of US material climbed 14.2% year on year to 432 273 tonnes while orders from Bangladesh skyrocketed almost 140% from 122 414 tonnes in 2015 to 292 953 tonnes last year.

Preliminary data from the same two bodies indicate that total US scrap exports – including ferrous/non-ferrous/precious metals scrap, recovered paper, plastic scrap, glass cullet and used textiles – edged less than 1% lower last year to just under 37 million tonnes although the decline in value terms was 5.8% to US$ 16.5 billion.

The biggest overseas customer by far was China with a spend of US$ 5.2 billion, followed by Canada on US$ 2 billion.

The USA’s total scrap exports peaked in 2011 at 51.8 million tonnes, carrying a value of US$ 32.6 billion.

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