Scrap steel prices are going sideways in December – unchanged from last month’s levels as we close out 2014. Market sentiment was negative in early November which left many anticipating yet another decrease in scrap pricing. This quickly changed as snowstorms ripped through the East and Midwest markets severely impacting their scrap flows. There is some speculation that various mills do not have an adequate scrap supplies to last through the winter months and will be looking to secure additional tonnages leading some to believe that markets may be on the rise to kick off 2015. We do have some hope that this may be the case and they we have hit the bottom of the market, but there is little to back-up these claims at this moment. Local mills are reporting adequate scrap inventories due to good weather in the West and cheaper West Coast scrap brought in by rail.
There have been some reports of a slight uptick in scrap exports off both the East and West Coasts with loads being sold at price up $5 GT. Although this has not had much of an impact on domestic markets it has acted as a floor which we expect exports to build on and hold off further market drops. This year was a very quiet year for the export markets and there is hope that this may open the door slightly for a better year in 2015.
Prices on copper and aluminum have made some notable changes the past 30 days. Both metal prices finished the month of November in a weak fashion. Starting with copper, the COMEX market remained fairly steady through most of November but prices dropped dramatically the final week and hit a 4 year low . During November, copper prices fell a total of 18 cents a pound or 5.9% of its value and aluminum quickly followed, falling 5 cents a pound or 4.8% of its value. Both metals fell victim to negative import data released from China causing investors to put their money in less risky positions and the renewed strength of the U.S. Dollar. On the other hand, Nickel prices increased 5% in November shrugging off its previously negative price trend. This will likely translate into a small price increase for stainless steel items at the mills.
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