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FUTURES WRAP: LME scrap contracts slide on week, trading volume soars

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FUTURES WRAP: LME scrap contracts slide on week, trading volume soars

Highlights

Rebar weekly trading volume at 4-month high

Near term contango for scrap, rebar forward curves softens

Scrap futures contracts on the London Metal Exchange moved lower over the week to Sept. 23, while the weekly trading volume surged.

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S&P Global Platts assessed the September scrap contract down $2/mt on the week at $444/mt on Sept. 23, while the October contract dropped $10/mt on the week to $446.50/mt. The November contract lost $7.75/mt on the week to move to $441.75/mt, and the December contract decreased $9/mt on the week to $440.50/mt.

The contango structure for the September-October portion of the forward curve softened sharply on the week, suggesting that futures traders expect the rate of near-term scrap price increases to be less firm. The backwardated structure of the October-November portion of the curve also softened, while the November-December portion of the LME scrap forward curve shifted into a slight backwardation from a flat curve one week earlier.

Spot prices for physical imports of premium heavy melting scrap 1/2 (80:20) dipped $1/mt on the week to $440/mt CFR Turkey on Sept. 23, as mills continued to hold back.

"If it wasn't for record high freight rates, scrap prices would be in the $300s/mt CFR," one Turkish mill source said.

An EU recycler indicated a tradable value for Benelux-origin HMS 1/2 (80:20) at $435/mt CFR minimum, adding that "frankly, with higher freight rates, even that [level] becomes more difficult by the day."

Weekly LME scrap futures trading volumes over the week to Sept. 23 totaled 75,780 mt, up from 22,550 mt recorded last week, reaching its highest level since the week ending Aug. 5.

For near-term rebar futures, the contango structure of the September-October portion of the forward curve softened further on the week, continuing to suggest that futures traders expect limited upside in near-term physical rebar prices. The October-November portion of the curve shifted into a slight backwardation, while the backwardated structure of the November-December portion of the curve softened.

Platts assessed the September contract down $3.50/mt on the week at $665.50/mt on Sept. 23, while the October contract dipped $4.50/mt on the week to $670/mt. The November contract lost $9/mt to $669/mt on the week, and the December contract dropped $5.50/mt to $667/mt.

Turkish physical rebar export prices dipped $1/mt on the week to $666.50/mt FOB on Sept. 23, as sources continued to cite a lack of noticeable demand for Turkish rebar in the export market.

"Till the end of September, Turkish mills have orders in their hands but the first week of October they will start to cry," one trading source said. "Maybe they are expecting some demand from the new European quota [and] that's why they are insisting on [elevated offers]. But if scrap is at $440/mt CFR Turkey, they can deduct the rebar price to $600/mt FOB."

Rebar futures weekly trading volumes this week on the London Metal Exchange totaled 25,790 mt, the highest recorded weekly trading volume since May 27, and up from the 4,260 mt traded volume last week.

The daily outright spread between Turkish export rebar and import scrap was assessed at $226.50/mt Sept. 23, stable on the week.

Indian scrap futures' weekly trading volumes this week on the London Metal Exchange totaled 60 mt. A total of 240 mt have traded so far on the contract, which settles basis the Platts CFR Nhava Sheva shredded scrap index, since its launch in late July 2021.