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Nonferrous Scrap Metal Trade Flows

U.S. copper scrap exports to China during the first quarter of 2018 were down nearly 26% year-on-year to 131,060 metric tons, bringing overall copper scrap exports down 7.7%:

USCooper

So which markets are taking in more copper scrap this year? According to the Census Bureau data, the top 5 growth markets in the first quarter of 2018 in volume terms are:

  • Malaysia (+11k mt)
  • Thailand (+4k mt)
  • Hong Kong (+4k mt)
  • Japan (+4k mt)
  • South Korea (+3k mt)

Rounding out the top 10 growth markets for U.S. copper scrap exports this year are Taiwan, Germany, Spain, Indonesia, and India.

As for U.S. aluminum scrap exports (including UBCs and RSI), shipments to mainland China during the first quarter of 2018 were reportedly down less than copper scrap exports, declining 7.2% to 177,553 metric tons. And with significant volume gains to India (+16k mt), Malaysia (+16k mt), Mexico (+7k mt), South Korea (+6k mt), and others, the Census Bureau reports U.S. aluminum scrap exports actually increased 9% year-on-year overall to nearly 387,000 metric tons in the first quarter:

USAluminum
The trade data on U.S. stainless scrap exports is less encouraging, with the Census Bureau reporting first quarter 2018 stainless scrap exports fell 33% year-on-year by volume to 84,786 metric tons as heavy losses to China (-90%), Hong Kong (-77%), Canada (-45%), and Taiwan (-32%) more than offset gains to South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh):

USStainlessSteel

Nonferrous Beat

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