13 February 2023 – The EU has no effective plan for the implementation of its hydrogen strategy. Especially with regard to green production and transport. EUROFER confirms Stainless Espresso assumptions from 2021. Nickel fraud and empty shipping containers: Are global stocks possibly even lower than assumed? And consumer sentiment in the United States remains strong.
- EU has no plan for hydrogen
- Does the German government not comply with climate targets?
- Green hydrogen panacea only a placebo
- EUROFER confirms figures of the Stainless Espresso Research Team
- EUROFER press release: Hydrogen yes, but please not green?
- Hydrogen cannot currently be transported?
- EU stainless steel producers go into agriculture
- Nickel Scam: Inventories significantly lower than assumed?
- USA: Consumer sentiment improves
EU has no plan for hydrogen
The European Union’s measures to date with regard to its Green Deal and Green Transformation almost exclusively provide incentives in the form of subsidies for the industries that emit particularly high amounts of GHG gases, such as cement, chemicals or steel. So far, there is little evidence of any real compulsion to switch to CO2-neutral European production. On the other hand, the EU intends to force the rest of the world to meet its CO2 targets and those who do not will be punished at the EU’s external borders with CO2 duties, e.g. in the form of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
Does the German government not comply with climate targets?
In Germany, this is already increasingly occupying the courts, all the way up to the Federal Constitutional Court. Environmentalists are thus trying to force the German government to comply with the climate targets it has set. The high targets of the incumbent government, with which it won the election, among other things, are not being implemented. The stagnating expansion of alternative energies, longer operating times for coal-fired power plants and many other projects are just a few examples of how the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, dominated by the SPD and the Greens, is oversleeping or ignoring urgently needed measures for climate protection.
Green hydrogen panacea only a placebo
The issue of green hydrogen is particularly sensitive. The supposed panacea for all energy problems and CO2 emissions, especially those of the steel mills, does not get beyond the status of a homeopathic placebo for angry refinery workers in eastern Germany and to get billions of subsidies and incentives from the European Commission. There is a lack of common plans and strategies at EU level, experts say. And they paint a picture that we already showed two years ago.
EUROFER confirms figures of the Stainless Espresso Research Team
The association of European steel producers, EUROFER, has now also had to admit this. According to the latest figures, at least 2 million tonnes of hydrogen and more than 90 TWh of electricity will be needed by 2030. Which, according to EUROFER, would be more than Belgium’s current electricity needs. We are pleased that the European steel producers have now also confirmed our figures from 2021.
EUROFER press release: Hydrogen yes, but please not green?
By the way, the current EUROFER press release on this point also shows where the journey is heading. There is no longer any talk of green hydrogen. It only talks about hydrogen, which in its current form produces more than 6,000 kg/CO2eq per tonne of H2. One might as well continue to burn lignite.
Hydrogen cannot currently be transported?
At the same time, there is a lack of effective transport options for hydrogen. No matter whether it is to be produced somewhere abroad or consumed in the European Union. The European pipeline network for natural gas seems to be unsuitable for the transport of hydrogen, even if the operators try to postulate otherwise. Will hydrogen, in particular the climate-neutral energy carrier, thus become a pipe failure for the European Commission and the steel manufacturers who, apart from demanding more and more subsidies and incentives, are not prepared to make any commitments?
EU stainless steel producers go into agriculture
The news that EU stainless steel producers are now becoming farmers is hardly noticeable. And it also goes unnoticed that the possible extraction of nickel from plants could once again significantly increase climate-damaging CO2 emissions and is only intended to distract from the fact that climate protection is only being pursued homeopathically. There are incentives from the EU for this. But more on that soon.
Nickel Scam: Inventories significantly lower than assumed?
Asian analysts and other media are already talking in clearer terms about the scam in nickel trading that is said to have hit the commodity trader Trafigura. Well, deliberate manipulation of the nickel market is nothing new and also how prices on the commodity markets are influenced by false or misleading reports. The incidents regarding nickel from 2021 and 2022 should still be well remembered by most.
Available nickel inventories even lower?
Early analysts are already seeing that the Trafigura incident is beginning to raise suspicions that available global nickel inventories may be significantly lower than previously thought.
Loans not affected by the deal?
And even though Trafigura is trying to assure its own house banks that their credit lines, which according to media reports amount to almost USD 80 billion, are not affected by this very fraud. Why exactly these transactions are said to have been paid out of petty cash, however, remains unanswered.
Indian businessman notorious in the industry?
However, it seems certain that the defrauded company did business with a notorious figure in the industry, the Indian businessman Prateek Gupta and his companies. And Trafigura was thereby foisted with masses of empty containers.
The dubious business practices of the Gupta Group leave industry insiders shaking their heads at the commodity scam. Overall, however, not so unusual, as old and repeated incidents are quickly forgotten when cheap is not cheap enough.
USA: Consumer sentiment improves
US consumer sentiment reached its highest level since January 2022 in February, according to the first estimate of a survey of US households by the University of Michigan. The current economic situation is now assessed as significantly better than at the low point in June 2022, which is mainly due to the easing of price pressure and the positive situation on the labour market. The latter recently reported just under two vacancies for every job seeker. In addition, the remaining savings built up during the Corona pandemic are likely to support the demand of private US households more strongly in future than in previous phases of economic weakness.
- Commodity shortages and high scrap prices
- India’s new love for Russia, stainless steel makers position themselves clearly
- World nickel production paints dramatic picture
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