OLAF report 2022 Systematic fraud in steel imports Stainless Espresso 1200x630 1

8 June 2023 – The latest OLAF report by the European Anti-Fraud Office for 2022 shows the importance of working with reliable, professional, and clean traders and importers in a case of systematic fraud in steel imports. Nickel demonstrates growth and stability and support for stainless steel prices.

OLAF Report: Systematic fraud in steel imports from China? 

Who doesn’t know them, the offers that are so good that they can hardly be true. As a consumer, but also as a B2B buyer in the steel industry, everyone has come across an offer that at first glance seemed to be a real bargain, but on closer inspection turned out to be what it really was: a dangerous duck, with perhaps even consequences under criminal and tax law.

OLAF report for 2022 

In the European Union, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) deals with fraud in the import of goods, among other things. Especially in the case of steel, which, as is well known, is subject to extensive market protection measures, there are repeated attempts to circumvent the high customs duties by providing false information and thus get away with it.  

Systematic fraud in steel imports from China? 

The current OLAF report for 2022 shows that another systematic fraud involving heavy plate steel from China has just been dealt with. A loss of at least 6.5 million euros. 

But not only with steel, also with stainless steel there are some investigations by OLAF, e.g. in the direction of India and China, but also South Korea and China and the attempts to disguise the true country of origin and to circumvent high anti-dumping or anti-subsidy duties.  

Hot topic on the agenda 

European Commission decisions from anti-circumvention investigations in 2023 also show that the issue is high on the agenda of the EC and EU steel and stainless steel producers and their lobby association EUROFER.  

Tip: Pay attention to who you work with 

These cases show once again how important it is to work with reliable, professional and clean traders and importers. Not only in terms of the adage: “If you buy cheap, you buy twice!” but also in terms of avoiding consequences under criminal and tax law. 

Nickel demonstrates growth and stability 

The nickel production in China has been consistently growing and contributing to the positive supply side of the market. Despite some fluctuations, the nickel prices and spot premium have remained stable within a range. Efforts from stainless steel mills and traders to lower NPI prices indicate a proactive approach to boost sales. Overall, the nickel demonstrates growth and stability, it is highly unlikely that the price will drop below the 20,000 $/MT range, providing a promising outlook for the future of the nickel market. 

And despite an alleged oversupply in 2023, the downward trend in commodity exchange warehouses has continued. 

Stable nickel continues to support stainless steel prices 

Though the prices of stainless steel been under severe pressure and the consumption was on the lower side, the price of nickel remained stable with in a range. Lower consumption within the market can be attributed to mills’ lack of attention towards the expected price adjustments for stainless products from the market, which in turn was influenced by the stable nickel prices.

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