Scrap & Recycling
Vietnam's April ferrous scrap imports fell by 38.2pc to 401,055t from a year earlier, slowed by Covid-19-related restrictions.
The April imports also declined by 19.9pc from March, with overall January-April imports higher by 20.5pc at 1.8mn t from a year earlier, according to Vietnam customs data.
Vietnamese mill outlooks turned negative after the Covid-19 outbreak began to spread globally, turning scrap procurement more cautious since early February. More mills decided to run at lower utilisation rates in response to weakened demand during the pandemic.
Imports from Japan fell by 9.2pc from March to 283,735t but rose by 56.8pc from a year earlier. Japan's market share of Vietnam's imports surged to 60.8pc in January-April from 37.8pc during the same period last year. The rise in Japanese imports was in response to lower US seaborne supply, as Covid-19 lockdowns reduced US domestic scrap collection. Rising US offer levels also shifted buying interest to lower-cost Japanese scrap.
Reduced domestic scrap demand in Japan has forced its scrap sellers to shift attention to overseas sales.
Imports from the US fell by 65.7pc on the month and by 84.4pc on the year to 21,728t in April. US dropped to fourth place after being the second-biggest supplier in March. Rising scrap prices into Turkey also affected US west coast offers to Asia, lifting them to make US scrap less attractive to buyers in Asia. The Argus HMS 1/2 (80:20) bulk ferrous scrap cfr Turkey assessment rose from $248/t in early February to $280/t at the end of February.
Vietnamese buyers are minimising risk by buying smaller bulk vessel cargoes from Japan and Hong Kong. Imports from Hong Kong increased by 57.2pc from March to 37,408t last month, but fell by 4.5pc from last year.
Imports from Australia soared from a small base, up by 3,776pc to 31,093t last month from 802t in March, but down by 57.5pc from a year earlier. Australian imports in January-April halved with its exporters allocating more volumes to south Asia and Indonesia because of higher workable prices offered by buyers there.
Vietnam's reduced imports was in line with the trend of other major Asian buyers, which reduced scrap imports in April as the impact of Covid-19 continued to rampage the global economy. Taiwan's imports fell by 10.3pc from March and by 8.7pc on the year to 293,563t, while South Korea's imports fell by 10.6pc from March and by 22.2pc from a year earlier to 439,179t in April.