Markets are continuing their downward trend in March, down $15/Ton as we move into the close of the first quarter of 2014. This current market trend is leaving many looking for the bottom of the market and possible rebounds in future months. Original projections were thought to be down $20-$30/Ton but some late positive sentiment boosted most markets throughout the U.S. to an more mild $15 decrease. The drop in pricing this month has created a lot of speculation. Some say that many mills in the East and Midwest are in need of cut grades due to the harsh weather and tighter supply. Speculators have said that the price drop is just an attempt for mills to widen margins as they have had to work tighter in previous months to acquire the necessary tonnage to feed their yards. There is a lot of uncertainty right now leaving many guessing as to what is the cause and what we can expect in the upcoming months.
Turkey, one of the largest importers of U.S. scrap from the East Coast, has remained quite as they are monitor the current situation in Ukraine because both Russia and Ukraine are large suppliers of scrap and billet to Turkey. Many exporters, including Turkey, have been waiting to see where markets will settle within the U.S. before making any offers. With this being said there are still only low volumes of scrap exports off of the East Coast and even fewer moving off of the West.
Base metals have been mixed over the past 30 days, showing some modest gains and losing steam shortly thereafter. Overall, aluminum and nickel prices are up over the past 30 days due to healthy demand while copper is down compared to a month ago despite making some modest gains in mid-February. Over the past 30 days, aluminum is up 4.8% and nickel saw substantial strength, up over 9%. Copper prices have been holstered by the uncertainty in Ukraine leaving many investors running for safer investments than copper stocks. Copper prices on COMEX today are down 13 cents alone (-4%) and forecasters worry price weakness will likely continue as Ukraine’s situation escalates.
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