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The market could see direction change in November

By John Ambrosia - October 24, 2016

Maybe it’s the approaching fright fest of Halloween, but thoughts already are turning to the November market, and the emerging consensus is that for several reasons – from exports to alternative irons to scrap supplies – the market may have bottomed out in October and will stabilize or rise next month.

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


The percentage of respondents to this month’s survey who expect prices to be sideways in November. However, enough respondents – roughly 37 percent – believe prices will rise to create an overall bullish forecast for next month. A sideways to strong sideways change could occur. Only 13 percent say they expect scrap prices to decline.


The Scrap Trends Outlook indicator number for broker demand. Current expectations are that mills will need materials as their scrap inventories tighten and will turn to brokers to help make up the shortages. When brokers start looking for scrap to secure, they may be forced to offer sellers prices that are higher than those in October to close the deals.


Prices have fallen across the board during six of the past 10 Novembers, including four of the past five years. Three other years have risen across the board and one year had mixed results. So overall historical data tend to point toward a market slightly more likely to be down or sideways, but not with the authority other months have seen.

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

October Review
October Review
October outlook:
Bearish (33.2)
October's actual change:
Busheling: - $30/13% 
Bundles: - $30/13% 

Cut Grades

October Review
October Review
October outlook:
Bearish (38.2)
October's actual change:
No. 1 HM: - $18/10% 
P&S: - $18/9% 

Frag Grades

October Review
October Review
October outlook:
Bearish (36.7)
October's actual change:
Shred: - $20/9% 

Foundry Grades

October Review
October Review
October outlook:
Bearish (34.7)
October's actual change:
Punchings: - $28/6% 
Misc. Foundry: - $27/8% 

10 Things to Watch

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Obsolete scrap into dealer yards has been dwindling in recent weeks, which could produce shortages
Reduced mill inventories could make an impact
Export demand may begin to recover next month
Prices may have bottomed out and are ready to rebound

Broker demand is expected to gain in strength
Seasonal issues such as weather and transportation – while slight factors right now – may work for sellers
Mill order books are still weaker than during the summer
Historically, November prices show mixed movement

Year-long export slump has affected domestic scrap

Approach of holidays could increase mill slowdowns

Notable Quotes about Next Month

" Export prices are already higher in some areas north of here. That should cause prices to rise in this neighborhood."
" Too low. At unsustainable levels. We would have better luck if we went fishing."
" The mills may start laying down extra inventory in preparation of the coming winter."
" I hope the year ends up flat for the next two months."
" Because at present prices, the flow nearly stops."
" The whole market is just slow."