US copper scrap discounts slip as copper futures move lower
Washington (Platts)--29Nov2012/515 pm EST/2215 GMT
Spreads for US copper scrap narrowed slightly this week based on
reported sales and a downturn in copper futures that reversed itself later in
Discounts for No. 2 birch/cliff, the grade normally favored by Chinese
mills and other overseas buyers, narrowed to March COMEX minus 35 cents/lb,
delivered FAS, from March COMEX minus 37 cents last week.
Sources continued to characterize No. 2 sales to China as steady but
relatively light, despite the upcoming Lunar New Year in early February.
Shipping containers of scrap typically take about 45 days to arrive in South
When asked if Chinese buyers had stepped up their buying, one large
scrap processor/merchant in the upper Midwest said, "not yet."
Article continues below...
|Request a free trial of Metals Daily|
Platts Metals Daily offers prices, news and analysis for the aluminum, copper and molybdenum value chains. It contains hundreds of metals prices across base, minor, light and precious metals assessed by editors globally. This detailed report will help you monitor global events and quickly spot opportunities or potential pitfalls as well as bring you aluminum and copper price and news coverage. Daily prices and news for molybdenum are also covered to deliver critical insights.
"I think at 350 cents/lb, it's still a little too expensive for them,"
the trader said. "I was surprised that when it was 340 cents, they didn't
come into the market. I thought they would."
Discounts for mixed loads of No. 1 burnt wire/pipe and tubing slipped to
March COMEX minus 19 cents, delivered US, from March COMEX minus 22 cents
last week on weak demand, as US mills kept their buying at a minimum for
year-end accounting purposes.
A large processor/trader in the Midwest put No. 1 spreads at March COMEX
minus 19-20 cents, but said European mills had been buying in "considerable
volume," as they had in recent weeks.
European sources describe the current scrap supply situation in Europe
as "tight," leading some market players to theorize that with the European
cathode market tight and US scrap demand at a standstill, scrap was being
bought and sold to fill the gap.
Although US demand for high-grade bare bright scrap remained steady,
spreads narrowed to March COMEX minus 8 cents/lb, delivered US, from March
COMEX minus 10 cents last week.
One scrap wholesaler in the Northeast saw bare bright discounts at March
COMEX minus 8-9 cents. Things have been relatively status quo, and maybe a
little tighter even," he said.
The processor/trader in the upper Midwest cited earlier said he sold at
March COMEX minus 6-7 cents, delivered US this week.
"There's still good domestic demand, and the Asian markets haven't been
that aggressive, at least not on No. 1 and bare bright," he said, though he
added that many large US mills were not buying heavily.
--Nick Jonson, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Ben Kilbey, email@example.com
--Edited by Richard Rubin, firstname.lastname@example.org