Ferrous prices are sideways for most of the country this month with the only exception being a few West Coast export yards and Chicago/Detroit markets where scrap volumes are thinner. South Korean mills returned to the market early last week and raised prices by $5-8 in order to secure 3 bulk barges of scrap metals for the extreme West Coast. This had a minor impact on west coast prices but the possibility for price strength dissipated quickly as the markets move eastward. Late June speculations had prices going up $5-10 GT across the country but those wishful supplier expectations began to falter this week as most mills got a feeling for scrap tonnages available in the market coupled with stable demand. In addition, July is historically a month that mills have decreased production due to maintenance shutdowns, decreased orders, and widespread vacation schedules further reinforcing the environment of a stable scrap supply satisfying the mill’s production needs.
Base Metal prices have been very volatile the past 30 days. Copper, aluminum, and nickel have seen wide pricing swings in June. Copper prices dropped 6% the first half of June but found strength in the final week of month to recover and post a 0.5% gain by month end. Aluminum followed a similar trend loosing $0.01/lb but gained great strength in the later portion of the month and finished June posting a $0.02 lb price gain. Nickel prices also fluctuated falling 8% in the first 2 weeks but regained much of their lost ground and ended June with a nominal 1.7% loss.
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