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Prime grades have overtaken shredded this summer

By John Ambrosia - July 18, 2016

Prime scrap grades have performed fairly well and steadily for three months straight, better not only than the secondary grades but also much stronger than shredded scrap. In fact, prime grades overtook frag grades in June, ending 15 months of pricing dominance by shredded scrap.



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

13

The percentage of respondents to the survey who believe prices could go up in August. That includes a range – a little over 21 percent believe that No. 1 heavy melting might go up, while only 12 percent say that busheling and 7 percent that turnings and borings are likely to increase. About half believe a sideways market is still possible.

50

Prices in August are split evenly historically. Over the past decade, prices have risen four times, fallen four times and been mixed twice. One possible explanation is that August often becomes a month in which market corrections are sought following the unpredictable ups and downs of summer and its host of variable factors that are at play.

16

For the year to date through May, about 4.8 million tonnes of scrap have been shipped to foreign buyers, compared to about 5.7
million for the first five months of 2015, or a decrease of roughly 16 percent. Year-over-year May figures also were down about 1.2 percent for the month from May 2015. However, export volumes gained over April.

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 April stacked up against actual changes in last month's market.

Prime Grades

July Review
July Review
July outlook:
Bearish (46.1)
July's actual change:
Busheling: +/- $0/0% 
Bundles: +/- $0/0% 

Cut Grades

July Review
July Review
July outlook:
Bearish (43.2)
July's actual change:
No. 1 HM: - $12/5% 
P&S: - $12/5% 

Frag Grades

July Review
July Review
July outlook:
Bearish (43.4)
July's actual change:
Shred: - $16/6% 
 

Foundry Grades

July Review
July Review
July outlook:
Sideways (50.1)
July's actual change:
Punchings: - $5/1% 
Misc. Foundry: - $2/0.4% 

10 Things to Watch

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1.
As of late July, export activity was still in doubt, leaving questions about where potential oversupply will go
2.
Domestic scrap orders have been lower than anticipated
3.
Some believe grade pricing differentials are distorted
4.
Freight prices and availability could affect some deals
5.
Improved 2016 prices may boost local scrap availability
6.
The situations in foreign demand and now scrap imports are helping to keep the metals market unpredictable
7.
Historical factors suggest August could move either way
8.
Turkey and China could still return to export markets
9.
Service center demand remains relatively flat
10.
Brokers are expected to seek more scrap than in July

Notable Quotes about Next Month

" Lower prices in July have killed flow of obsolete, and production outages have reduced prime flow more significantly then normal."
" High value of U.S. dollar will inhibit exports and attract more imports into the US. Trade cases do protect and do not include import/export of scrap."
" Obsolete scrap is coming in from jobs. Very little production scrap."
" This market is stuck in a rut at a level that is unsustainable."
" Peddler/demo scrap flows (are) weak."
" Imports are back."