Scrap steel prices are up $10GT in most parts of the country with some exceptions on specialized grades in larger markets. As forecasted, we appear be at the bottom of the market and because West Coast mills were unable to secure the necessary tonnage at sideways levels, we are seeing this slight bump in pricing for July. While supply and demand try and reach an equilibrium, we are hopeful that the market will continue to stabilize. There are many differing reports coming from the East Coast, particularly the Chicago and Detroit markets, which seem to be all over the board with large to moderate gains. The stronger price increases offered in these markets have left many speculating the cause of these gains. Some report supply and demand differences while others say it was unjustified and could be the steel mills artificially inflating the Chicago markets to increase steel surcharges and profits on a tight market.
Rising export pressures will have partial claim for this upward trend on the East Coast as loads being shipped to Turkey are posting numbers at up $10GT. Much of the export market, however, remains quiet and continues to be non-existent on the West Coast with news of possibly only one or two unconfirmed loads to Vietnam. Reduced demand for steel-making in Taiwan, China, and other major export markets will continue to affect scrap pricing domestically as there are fewer mills to buy the available tons. Increased demand domestically will help pricing in the short term, but demand in these major export markets will play a large role through the remainder of 2013.
Base metal prices erupted into a downward spiral again Mid June with losses posted across the board over the past 30 days. Copper is down $0.14 lb from this time last month and down 15% this year alone causing many buyers to wonder if they will see any stabilization in the near future. Aluminum is off $0.06 and is showing some resiliency as of lately while Nickel is down $0.65/lb with more weakness forecasted. These large drops in Nickel pricing coupled with poor demand for new stainless steel material continue to fuel weak pricing on all Stainless grades.