September scrap prices moved sideways at unchanged levels from August on the West Coast. Other parts of the country are experiencing some easing as there is a need to balance supply and demand on certain grades. The Midwest is down $10 GT on prime and cut grades and down $10-$15GT on shredded scrap. Price decreases were due to an “overhang” of scrap inventory at Midwest mills. We appear to be at the top of the market and expect to see some price easing as we move into the 4th quarter and finish out 2013.
Exports saw a temporary surge the last week of August as both Taiwan and Mexico bought $10-$15 higher than previous offers. Even with this temporary surge export pressure is still weak and offers are still coming in at lower than domestic levels. Exports are expected to remain volatile through the remainder of the year which will contribute to softer markets.
Base metals (aluminum, copper, nickel) were just starting to recover in the first half of August when news of possible military involvement in Syria coupled with weaker economic data recently released iced many of the gains earlier attained. On August 16th copper, aluminum, and nickel prices were riding a positive wave, up 6% on copper, 5% on aluminum and 7% on nickel respectively. Markets looked strong and prices looked promising, unfortunately, these positive outlooks were short lived.
Since the highs in mid August, prices have retreated the other way, especially nickel which lost all 7% gained and is down an additional 2% so far in September. Copper managed to come up ahead but only salvaged half of the gain previous attained (3% up thru August). Aluminum finished the month similar to Nickel, giving back all gained in August and lost an additional 2% thus far in September. It looks like we may be in for another “bumpy ride” down the commodities road thru September.
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