Prices have not risen across the board in a September market in five years, since 2010. Still, prices have dropped across the board in only three of the past 10 Septembers, meaning they were mostly up or sideways in the other years. Most of those changes were small, although 2008 experienced a large decrease as the financial markets collapsed.
The Scrap Trends Outlook indicator number for mill demand points to a slight decrease in the need for scrap in September. This is based on two major factors: Although mills are coming out of summer slowdowns and shutdowns, the steel capacity utilization rate is holding steady; and labor and end-user volatility could still affect production and orders.
The percentage of respondents in this month’s survey who expect scrap prices to rise or, at worst, be sideways next month. Prime and cut grades lead the way in expected market gains, with frag grades following closely behind. Foundry grades are expected to be sideways. Overall, about 58 percent see a sideways movement coming.