Ferrous scrap metal prices have edged upwards, a month after merchants reported falls.
MRW research indicates a rise in prices of up to £15 per tonne, depending on the region, whereas last month they fell by a similar amount, the first significant movement in the market for several weeks.
The increases come in a year so far characterised by subdued demand and availability of scrap, resulting in many quiet yards across the UK.
Those spoken to by MRW said that steelworks had settled on prices up by £5 and £10 on average. Typical light iron prices at the merchants contacted by MRW ranged from £75 to £125 at the beginning of the month, just after the rises.
The increase took some merchants by surprise and one operator in the Midlands said: “They came out of the blue. There were rumours about an increase this month, but they’ve been saying there would be a price increase for the past three months and it hasn’t happened.”
A north-east merchant said the price increases were inevitable, following a combination of previous falls and a lack of material.
“Prices are up because there is a desperate shortage of scrap,” he said. “The mills have been told [about this] for ages and they’ve finally woken up to the fact. The export market is better too. I think prices will go up again.”
Despite rises reported in England of £5-£15, Scottish merchants indicated they had yet to see any significant increases. The picture was similar in Wales with limited, small increases reported by some merchants.