Continuing Iron Age's Century-Long Tradition

Welcome to Scrap Price Bulletin

If you're looking for current iron and steel scrap metal prices, market commentary or short-term outlook then you've landed on the right website.

Start your subscription


October markets once again may turn into a pumpkin

By John Ambrosia - September 26, 2016

The last time ferrous scrap prices rose during an October, George W. Bush and John Kerry were heading into the home stretch of their presidential bids; Hillary Clinton was still a sitting U.S. senator; Barack Obama was a sitting Illinois state senator; and Donald Trump was hosting a new TV show called “The Apprentice.”

Industry Survey of Factors Affecting the Upcoming Market

Imagine having advanced notice of what your allies, competitors, peers and clients are thinking about what's to come in each new monthly scrap market. Scrap Trends Outlook, delivers an exclusive look at where prices, supplies, demand and other factors may be heading. Each month, Scrap Trends Outlook gives you a chance to listen in on the emerging industry conversation about the upcoming scrap market and provides a comprehensive tool for buyers and sellers to gaze into an industry consensus of where the price and availability of scrap may be heading.

Numbers and Letters

A quick look at key points expected to affect next month's markets


Prices have fallen across the board in an October market in nine of the past ten years, and 13 of the past 15 years. In only one year –2004 –did prices rise across the board. Last year, prices fell hard in October, with grades losing $40-$50 on average. Both buyers and sellers believe next month will see a down market, or a weak sideways one in the best case.


The percentage of respondents in this month’s survey who expect prices to fall. An additional 21 percent say prices could be sideways or soft sideways next month. Prime and cut grades lead the way in expected market declines, with foundry grades following closely behind. None of the respondents say there could be an October increase.


So far in 2016, scrap exports are running nearly 15 percent behind 2015 levels. Respondents are expressing further pessimism about next month’s exports, which seems to be fueled by a year in which exports overall are still far behind last year plus the fact that shipments began to drop in mid-summer and have yet to show any recovery.

Our Methodology

Scrap Trends Outlook Methodology: A numerical value is given to the overall trend for the upcoming month after all the survey results of a series of 15 indexes are calculated based on a weighted average. A number close to 50 will give a ‘sideways’ or ‘unchanged’ reading, while numbers above 50 will give a reading for a bullish trend. The closer to 100, the more likely it is that prices will trend upward. Conversely, a number below 50 will give a reading for a bearish trend. The closer to 0, the more likely it is that prices will trend downward. N/A means there were too few survey responses to publish a reliable figure.

Taking Account

A look at how Scrap Trends Outlook Index numbers for June stacked up against actual changes in last month's market.

Prime Grades

September Review
September Review
September outlook:
Bearish (41.0)
September's actual change:
Busheling: - $37/14% 
Bundles: - $37/14% 

Cut Grades

September Review
September Review
September outlook:
Bearish (47.2)
September's actual change:
No. 1 HM: - $15/7% 
P&S: - $17/7% 

Frag Grades

September Review
September Review
September outlook:
Bearish (48.4)
September's actual change:
Shred: - $18/8% 

Foundry Grades

September Review
September Review
September outlook:
Bearish (45.9)
September's actual change:
Punchings: - $25/5% 
Misc. Foundry: - $25/7% 

10 Things to Watch

Never miss what's going to happen in next month's ferrous scrap market again

Sign-up for the new free alert, 'Ten things to watch'  and we'll tell you what we're keeping an eye on for next month's ferrous scrap markets


By mid-September, mills and brokers already were telling sellers that October was going to be down
Higher mill inventories still could make an impact
Demand for alternative irons will be down
The flow of scrap into the yards could be down
At the same time, scrap could start backing up in yards
A decrease in vehicle sales and the slowing of the construction season could hurt mill demand
Some planned steel mill outages are coming up
Imported scrap levels, especially primes, could hurt
There is no sign that scrap exports will increase
Historically, prices are down in October markets

Notable Quotes about Next Month

" More of the same only with the decrease in auto/truck sales and the construction season slowing down, there is going to be less demand."
" Scrap is backing up in the yards. The only place to ship is export and those prices are not good.
" Scrap export could change supply status."
" Imported steel."
" Mills and brokers already talking it down."
" Flow to yards down."