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Japanese and heavy melting ferrous scrap prices rise in east Asia

Tokyo — Japanese ferrous scrap export prices have slightly increased supported by higher international and domestic scrap prices, trading sources said Wednesday.

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S&P Global Platts assessed that H2 scrap export price at Yen 30,500/mt ($266/mt) FOB Tokyo Bay Wednesday, up Yen 250/mt from the midpoint of last week's assessment at Yen 30,250/mt.

South Korea's Hyundai Steel has placed its bid for H2 scrap at Yen 30,500/mt FOB on Friday. The bids for other grades such as Shindachi and HS were at Yen 33,500/mt.

The total booking volume until Monday was a total of 60,000 mt, of which around 30,000 mt were Shindachi grade, trading source in Seoul said.

Other South Korean mills were also trying to buy Japanese scrap during the week but no new booking was heard as of Wednesday. But sources in Tokyo said South Korean mills are eying to buy Japanese H2 material at Yen 30,500/mt FOB.

"But they are also claiming Japanese scrap prices are higher than their domestic prices, so we believe Korean mills won't pay more," a Tokyo-based trader said.

For other countries, Japanese traders are currently offering around $305/mt CFR for H2 material to Vietnamese customers, it is equivalent to around Yen 30,990/mt FOB, it is $10/mt higher from the latest booking by Vietnamese mill on March 3.

Japanese traders are currently targeting around Yen 31,000/mt or above for H2 export, up Yen 1,000/mt from a week ago.

"Domestic prices are increasing, we have to pay higher prices to collect scrap for export, we need to sell at higher prices to secure margin," a Tokyo-based trader said.

Japanese traders are currently paying around Yen 29,500-30,000/mt FAS to collect H2 material to be exported, up Yen 1,000-1,500/mt from a week ago.

In Japan, leading mini-mill Tokyo Steel Manufacturing lifted its scrap buying prices by Yen 500/mt for all grades for all works and its steel center effective from March 16 arrivals.

H2 buying price truck delivered to its Utsunomiya works north of Tokyo has become Yen 30,500/mt, total increase in March for H2 material has reached Yen 2,500-3,000/mt.

Meanwhile, the bulk heavy melting scrap import market remained quiet in South Korea while some bookings were made to Vietnam.

Bulk scrap is already sold out until April, and mills in South Korea are not able to receive many offers for bulk HMS, Seoul-based trading sources said.

"We need to start buying for May arrivals, so we have until the end of March to further observe the market movements," a source from a South Korean mill said.

Currently, offer prices for bulk HMS is slightly lower than $320/mt CFR South Korea, a Seoul-based trading source said.

Hyundai Steel booked around 20,000 mt of Russian A3 grade at $297/mt CFR South Korea Tuesday, a source close to the company said.

The South Korean mill previously booked around 30,000 mt of Russian A3 grade scrap last Tuesday at $297/mt CFR South Korea.

Generally, Russian A3 grade scrap is around $5/mt lower than bulk HMS I basis, trading sources said.

Meanwhile, a Vietnamese mill secured around 30,000 mt of deep sea cargo from Australia at $323/mt CFR Vietnam around last Thursday, regional trading sources said.

A Vietnamese mill is heard to have booked one bulk cargo at $315/mt CFR, however, no further details have been confirmed.

On Wednesday, Platts raised its east Asian bulk HMS I/II 80:20 scrap assessment to $315-323/mt CFR from $300-310/mt CFR. The implied midpoint of $319/mt CFR was $14 higher on week.

--YunBeom Kevin Seo,
--Yoko Manabe,
--Edited by James Leech,