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Buyers push February prices down despite supply

By John Ambrosia - February 21, 2017

A number of factors converged to bring the market down for the first time since October, although midway through February some of those issues are turning around as viewpoints begin to look toward March.



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

78

The average Outlook index number for mill demand for March. Most respondents expect mill order books and production to increase next month, raising the stakes on the need to acquire scrap, even if some of those steel producers have healthy stores of inventory and home/captive scrap on the ground heading into the coming month.

76

The Scrap Trends Outlook indicator number for cut grades in March. About 92 percent of respondents say that No. 1 heavy melting will be up. The rest are leaning towards a sideways trend. Meanwhile 100 percent say plate and structurals grades will see increases. These grades are expected to be among the strongest heading into March.

89

The percentage of respondents who say prices will be higher next month. About 13 percent expect prices to be much higher, with 76 percent simply forecasting some increase (11 percent are looking for sideways). Taken together, the responses point toward a month that should be anywhere from strong sideways to up considerably. No one expects drops.

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

Prime Grades

February Review
February Review
February outlook:
Sideways (50.9)
February's actual change:
Busheling: - $15/5% 
Bundles: - $12/4% 

Cut Grades

February Review
February Review
February outlook:
Bearish (47.5)
February's actual change:
No. 1 HM: - $28/10% 
P&S: - $27/9% 

Frag Grades

February Review
February Review
February outlook:
SW/Bearish (49.8)
February's actual change:
Shred: - $32/11% 
 

Foundry Grades

February Review
February Review
February outlook:
Bearish (48.4)
February's actual change:
Punchings: - $13/2% 
Misc. Foundry: - $7/2% 

10 Things to Watch

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1.
The end of higher Chinese demand, movement of Turkish prices could have an impact on export demand
 
2.
Weather could still have a role to play in scrap flow
 
3.
Scrap dealer inventories are shrinking in many areas
 
4.
Mill productivity and orders are expected to increase
 
5.
Historically, March prices increase in value
6.
Construction and manufacturing markets could be on the rise, increasing the demand for raw steel
 
7.
Political developments could accelerate recovery
 
8.
Although supply is tight, yards are not yet emptied out
9.
Transportation costs, availability may affect deals
 
10.
Mill inventory levels, home scrap could boost demand

Notable Quotes about Next Month

" Demand was greater than perceived and supply was tighter than perceived and prices went up when everyone thought they would go down."
" Supply is still tight. Export demand is picking up. Prices should bounce back to January levels or higher in March."
" The mills have been successful in passing on their price increases as demand is increasing too."
" Demand continues to increase but the flow into the yards has not."
" Extremely strong demand from all mills."
" Exports are higher and flow is tepid."