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October 15, 2021 – Russian aluminium giant Rusal wants to export more aluminium to China. Italian demand for HRC increases significantly. Is the EU market for heavy plates becoming bullish? And steel scrap prices up more than 8.5%.

Demand pick up for HRC, heavy plates and aluminium continues
Demand pick up for HRC, heavy plates and aluminium continues

Rusal to significantly expand aluminium deliveries to China

The world’s largest aluminium producer outside China, the Russian group Rusal, has announced that it will significantly increase its aluminium exports to China in 2022. Currently, Rusal already delivers up to 400,000 MT per year to its Asian neighbour.

Need for aluminium is expected to increase again in 2022

Aluminium demand, which is already expected to increase by 10% year-on-year in 2021, is expected to exceed global demand from 2019 in 2022. So if it were foreseeable that consumption would fall, the plans of such a player as Rusal would definitely be different.

Italian demand for HRC picks up significantly

In Southern Europe, especially in Italy, demand for hot-rolled coils (HRC) has picked up significantly. In Germany, too, declining inventories are expected due to rising demand. The energy cost surcharges of European steel producers, which according to market sources are now also expected in Italy, are likely to further fuel EU HRC prices – in addition to increased demand.

Is the EU heavy plates market becoming bullish?

Minor price setbacks in EU heavy plates could easily turn into a bullish buying mood. Sentiment is very positive, Italian sources say. Higher slab costs and a significant increase in demand are fuelling the Southern European heavy plates market, which is mainly served by Italian re-rollers. Overall, the combination of factors could lead to an increase in prices for plats.

Steel scrap prices on the rise

While many are still singing the death knell of European steel scrap prices, the LME steel scrap futures are currently showing something quite different. After peaking in May and July 2021, steel scrap prices had fallen to around $442 per tonne by mid-September. But since the end of September they have been rising again significantly. And by mid-October 2021 they had increased by around 8.5% per tonne.

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