US aluminum scrap exports increased in 2019, but imports fell during the same period, according to the latest US Census Bureau trade data.
Aluminum scrap exports increased by 3.2pc to 1.82bn t (1.65bn mt) in 2019 compared with 1.77bn t in 2018, with exports of aluminum scrap other than what’s used in aluminum beverage cans (UBCs) or remelt scrap ingot (RSI) comprising most of the gains.
Scrap exports of material other than UBCs or RSI—a category made up mostly of non-ferrous shredder zorba—rose by 7.5pc to 1.78bn t in 2019 over the previous year.
US UBC exports declined to 37.4mn t in 2019 from 41.6mn t a year earlier, on oversupply challenges, especially in the latter half of the year. RSI exports declined by 29.9pc to 56.3mn t in 2019 from 80.3mn t the previous year.
Aluminum scrap exports from the US decreased in December by 16.3pc to 140mn t, as compared with the same month in 2018.
US aluminum scrap imports also decreased in 2019 from a year earlier. In 2019, imports fell by 14.3pc to 595.8mn t from 695.3mn t a year earlier, as shipments for all the three aluminum scrap grades—UBCs, RSI, and other scrap—decreased.
RSI imports declined the most, decreasing by 60.2pc to 15.6mn t in 2019 from 39.2mn t during the previous year. UBC imports decreased by 29.5pc in 2019 to 108.5mn t from 153.9mn t in 2018, while aluminum scrap other than RSI and UBCs decreased by 6.1pc to 471.6mn t, compared with 502mn t in 2018.
Scrap imports also declined in December, falling to 42mn t compared with 48.3mn t in December 2018.