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Ferrous scrap prices firm in US market

Ferrous scrap prices firmed in the US market on Wednesday with some mills accepting sideways offers from dealers as market dynamics shifted this week.

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Lower-priced deals observed late last week and early this week were not available in most regions, but mill appetite remained healthy and dealers balked at lower bids.

"A market we initially felt would be down easily $10-15 is now looking sideways on obsolete grades," one Midwestern US scrap broker source said.


The Platts daily assessment for shredded scrap remained at $358-363/long ton delivered Midwest mill on Wednesday.

Mid-month scrap deals had been concluded at softer pricing than early-month deals in September. Market sentiment for October pricing had ranged from sideways to down based on softening export demand and the anticipated startup of Nucor's direct reduced iron (DRI) facility.

Turkey returned to the US market en masse starting last Monday buying steady volumes of US ferrous scrap with prices remaining firm at first and inching up $2/mt through the week. Meanwhile, Nucor?s DRI facility startup was delayed until year-end after the collapse of storage dome at the facility.

"A major impetus for downward pressure this month was the forthcoming DRI production, lax export demand and numerous mill outages," one Southeast broker source said. "These dynamics have shifted, prompting more bullish sentiment further enhanced by improved finished steel pricing and expanding mill lead times."

Numerous domestic mills announced flat-rolled price increases this week, further confusing a market that had been expecting scrap costs to soften.

"Mills came in so early and tried to buy down; guys were hesitant to sell, they didn't want to make any deals at these down numbers and some waited and got what they wanted," one Midwest dealer said. "People were pushing down $10 but you have mills running at the same rates and some mills in the Northeast with better buy programs. It didn't make sense."

Market sources expected October negotiations to continue throughout Thursday and into Friday.

--Nicholas Tolomeo, nicholas.tolomeo@platts.com --Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@platts.com