Signs still strong for scrap steel • Recycling International
Steel production is returning to pre-pandemic levels as demand rises, but rising energy costs have industry watchers worried.
2021 has been a good year for scrap metal workers in international markets, although they have faced challenges such as shipping logistics issues, skyrocketing container rates, tariff changes, and various regulatory hurdles. As the four charts in our regular chart on these pages show, prices have held at healthy levels.
For example, shipments of HMS 1/2 (80:20) from Europe to Turkey consistently exceeded USD 400 per ton cfr throughout the year. In contrast, the average in 2020 was USD 286.75 per ton cfr. The quoted rate for shipments at the time of writing (end of January) is US$459 per ton cfr. S&P Global Platts noted that Turkish imports of HMS 1/2 premium (80:20) at around USD 463 per ton cfr at the end of the year were close to the average price of shipments throughout 2021. Trade the highest noted last year was that of the United States. $515.75 end of May. Industry watchers expect the prices of imported scrap on the Turkish high seas to remain at high levels throughout the first quarter of 2022.
Even so, the International Association of Rebar Producers (Irepas) noted that the weakening Turkish economy, including runaway inflation, was affecting trade. Platts also said U.S. exports remained an important source of scrap metal for Turkish steel producers. Turkey imported 3.04 million tons of scrap metal from the United States in the first 10 months of 2021, compared to 3.75 million tons in the corresponding period of 2020.
Higher scrap export duties imposed in Russia and Ukraine, raising the export price, mean Turkish factories could turn to competitors for their material. At the beginning of December 2021, Ukraine announced that the duties would be multiplied by three, from 58 euros per ton to 180 euros. From January 1, Russia’s new rate has changed from 70 euros per ton to 100 euros. Russian customs data already reflects a decline, according to the Davis Index. , with exports of 3.71 million tonnes of scrap in the first 11 months of 2021 down 12% from the same period of 2020, according to Russian customs data. Similarly, hardware shipments to Turkey fell by 28% from January to November 2021.
In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the December manufacturing PMI was 58.7, down 2.4 percentage points from November’s reading of 61.1. Even so, it was 19and consecutive month indicating an expansion of the overall economy after the contraction of April 2020.
The latest trade data from the US Department of Commerce shows that US exports of all recycled products from January to November 2021 increased 10% year-on-year in quantity to 35.6 million tons and jumped 53% in value. to reach 28.8 billion US dollars. In the overall total, exports of recycled iron and steel (excluding stainless and alloy steel) increased 64% in value year-on-year to $6.4 billion and increased by 7% in quantity to 15.7 million tonnes, again reflecting high prices.
The United States is in talks with British officials to lift tariffs imposed on British steel and aluminum exports during President Trump’s rule. The Trump administration has introduced a 25% tariff on foreign steel and a 15% tax on foreign aluminium, prompting the UK to retaliate with tariffs on certain US products such as whiskey . Under President Biden, an agreement has since been reached with the EU and talks are also underway with Japan. Officials representing the United States and the United Kingdom say they are determined to get a “quick result”.
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