Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCHN) announced today its market outlook for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. In early June, export sales prices for ferrous metals, net of freight, dropped approximately $70-80 per ton from May levels, largely driven by slower global growth rates, economic uncertainty, and the stronger US dollar. Export sales prices remained relatively flat for the remainder of June and July before increasing slightly in August for September shipments. During the quarter, the supply of scrap continued to be constrained by low US GDP growth, and was further impacted in the fourth quarter by a lower price environment and unusually hot weather. As a result of these conditions, average inventory costs were not able to decline as quickly as cash purchase costs for raw materials. Average inventory costs are expected to adversely impact consolidated operating income by approximately $25 million compared to the third quarter, with approximately two-thirds of this impact affecting our Metals Recycling Business.
In our Metals Recycling Business, ferrous average net selling prices are expected to decline 10-15% from the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Ferrous sales volumes are also expected to decline 10-15% due to reduced flows of raw materials. Nonferrous average selling prices and volumes are expected to decline approximately 5-10% from the third quarter. Operating income per ferrous ton is expected to be $8-$9, approximately 35% lower than the third quarter of fiscal 2012, primarily due to the adverse effect of average inventory accounting and the impact of lower volumes on unit costs partly offset by improved cash metal spreads generated in the early part of the quarter. For fiscal year 2012, our Metals Recycling Business is expected to achieve operating income per ferrous ton of approximately $12 on aggregate sales volumes of approximately 5 million ferrous tons and 600 million nonferrous pounds.
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