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Ferrous grades at five-year low

Ferrous prices across the UK have suffered further falls and are currently at their lowest levels for more than five years.

Ferrous prices have been falling regularly during 2014 and in the past few days mills across the country dropped prices by £10-£20 per tonne for all scrap grades. One of the most commonly traded, light cast iron, is currently at £60-£80 per tonne compared to £132-£152 per tonne in January.

There was a rise at the beginning of September, following low trading during August, but it was short lived. Prices have continued to fall since and a merchant who contributed to MRW’s latest ferrous report said the situation was “a disaster, the worst prices I’ve seen since 2009.”

He attributed the current pressure on prices and the difficulties of market to cheap China steel and falling iron prices. The majority of merchants spoken to for the report hoped for a possible pickup in the spring.

Several traders based this on a boost in parts of the export market. An operator said: “Prices have reached the bottom now which isn’t good, but some of the export markets are starting to go up - around $10 a tonne in Turkey and the same in India”

A possible pickup of £10 per tonne would be unlikely to have a significant impact as there is also a shortage in available scrap and export traders are not selling with the current low prices.

  • For more on the current ferrous market and views from around the country, see the next issue of MRW.

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