27 October 2023 – The EU market for stainless steel scrap has been fiercely competitive for years. While many scrap dealers have to fear for the recently increased scrap prices due to the pressure from the EU mills, the domestic stainless steel producers are setting the stage for the next round of price increases for the first quarter of 2024.
EU stainless steel scrap – where is the journey heading?
After the prices for stainless steel scrap have been kept low for several years by the European mills and have been depressed with ever new justifications, the prices in the market have collapsed significantly at the latest since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The scrap dealers frequently describe the business practices of the EU mills as inappropriate and damaging to their business.
Stainless steel scrap still in short supply in the EU
Due to a widening shortage of stainless steel scrap in the EU, prices had recovered between 18 to 22% in recent weeks. This is a home-grown shortage, as Europe is not considered the number one destination for scrap imports from overseas due to price dumping in the purchasing of domestic producers. Europe’s own exports of semi-finished products and the outflow overseas of stainless steel scrap due to dumped prices further limit availability.
Which, with a scrap demand of more than 90% scrap (ferrous- and stainless steel scrap) in the EAF, has led to a real problem for the domestic mills.
Further stainless steel price increases planned
Now, domestic producers are already positioning themselves for the first quarter of 2024, and seem to be trying to further increase their margins via a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, in sales, price increases for stainless steel seem to be on the agenda from January 2024, and at the same time the mills are trying to optimise their purchasing on the other hand and to push scrap prices down again to a more pleasing level, but one that will lead to a further shortage of availability.
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