US ferrous scrap imports reached a 16-month high in May, driven by the continued strength of the dollar and demand for prime grades that had some mills turning to Europe.
The US imported 447,144 mt of scrap in May, according to data from the US Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission.
Imports from Canada reached an 11-month high of 281,480 mt but the overall May increase was driven by an influx of European bulk cargoes from the UK (57,347 mt), Sweden (28,998 mt), Netherlands (28,765 mt) and Germany (25,446 mt).
US importers took advantage of the strong dollar and booked the cargoes in the face of tightening domestic prime scrap supply. Of the 447,144 mt of scrap imported into the US in May, 156,974 mt were No. 1 bundles.
Nearly all the scrap from the UK and Germany were No. 1 bundles as were about half the Sweden and Netherlands tonnage. The US imported only 49,290 mt of shredded scrap in May.
Much of the imported scrap arrived into the US Southeast and market sources attributed a decline in the region's prime scrap prices - which stayed sideways elsewhere - to the market impact of some of the cargoes.
The US is the world’s biggest exporter of steel scrap but in 2015 it was also the fifth biggest importer behind Turkey, Korea, India and Taiwan. May imports of 447,144 mt were up from April's 334,644 mt and the May 2015 total of 326,227 mt.