“Along with the falling price of scrap, U.S. steelmakers have reduced their surcharge but, at the same time, have raised basis values,” said an MEPS assessment dated last month. “Generally speaking, transaction figures are either stable or rising slightly.”
“Chinese demand for scrap and other materials will stay strong,” according to “Industrial Market Trends” published by ThomasRegional.com. Thomas said that China's consumption increased 30% last year to 250 million metric tons - one-third of the world output of rolled steel.
Last month's Institute for Supply Management (ISM) monthly report on economic activity in the manufacturing sector found it growing, and strongly, for the 12th consecutive month. Order backlogs were growing steadily, and comments from ISM respondents indicate demand is strong in most manufacturing industries. Nonetheless, ISM members expressed major concern about rising material prices and the cost of energy.
“Supply levels of raw materials are expected to remain low,” said ThomasRegional.com. Among other factors is the offshore migration of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business, Robert Stevens, CEO of Impact Forge Inc. of Columbus, IN, noted, “When a manufacturer moves abroad, that means scrap steel generated from that factory moves abroad as well. So when our manufacturing economy lost 2.8 million jobs in the last three years, part of the related cost was a loss of future steel scrap and other recyclables.”