Prices have not risen across the board in a September market in six years, since 2010. Still, prices have dropped across the board in only four 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 increase 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, even if low; and market volatility could still affect production, orders.
The percentage of respondents in this month’s survey who expect scrap prices to fall or, at worst, be sideways next month. About 77 percent are looking for sideways. Prime and foundry grades lead the way in expected market drops, with cut grades looking stronger. Shredded scrap is expected to have the best shot at a sideways market.