Taiwan’s scrap imports rise on lower prices

Posted on 27 April 2021

Taiwanese ferrous imports in March doubled on the month, but fell by 2pc on the year, to 320,000t as buyers capitalised on a downward price correction for some scrap grades.

There was significant interest across Taiwanese buyers for HMS and A3 scrap as their prices fell while appetite for Japanese scrap was lower because of higher prices.

Prices of containerised HMS 1/2 80:20 fell by $98/t from 12 January to $350/t on 8 February, as Taiwanese steelmakers cut bids and bought all volumes that matched their target prices. Some even bought bulk scrap cargoes from the US to make up for the lower imports in February.

Scrap imports from the US in March rose the most significantly, by around 77pc on the month to 135,000t, up by 3.5pc on the year. US sellers were eager to sell as prices came down sharply but many of them did not offer large quantities because of tight container availability. Taiwanese mills turned to bulk scrap cargoes in order to avoid the disruption in container freight, and that drove imports higher.

Taiwanese mills do not typically purchase bulk scrap cargoes as Taiwanese ports cannot unload bulk vessels effectively.

Japan was the only origin with lower sales to Taiwan. Imports of Japanese scrap fell by 17pc on the month and by more than 50pc on the year to just 60,000t in March. Offers for Japanese H1/H2 50:50 in February rose to $450/t cfr from $405/t, limiting interest across many Taiwanese mills.

Imports from Australia, Canada and the Dominican Republic rose by 31pc, 52pc and 59pc on the year to around 14,000t, 14,000t and 15,000t, respectively. Taiwanese mills purchased scrap from these three countries as long as their bids were accepted because there was little disruption to containerised transport.

Scrap imports from other origins more than doubled on the month to 82,000t, up by 84pc on the year. This volume included 11,000t of A3 scrap from Russia, the first time since May 2020. This suggests that mills expanded their supplier pool to reduce dependence on US and Japanese scrap because of freight disruptions and higher prices. Taiwanese imports from origins outside the US and Japan may rise further in the coming months if containerised freight from the US remains disrupted and offers from Japan stay high.

Some Taiwanese mills also purchased imported steel billet. Taiwan imported 423,000t of billet in March, most of which came from Russia and Japan. 

Source : Argus