22 November 2022 – The first publications of stainless steel alloy surcharges for December already indicate a further increase. Particularly in the United States, there is a clear upward trend. Indonesia loses WTO nickel dispute against European Union and wants to appeal.
EU/US alloy surcharges increase
The important alloy surcharges for stainless steel grades 304/304L and 316/316L are rising as we expected. Not only in the European Union, but especially in the United States, manufacturers have raised prices by almost 6% in the first releases.
Rising prices, much more policy
This is probably primarily due to the significant increase in nickel, but also to higher scrap and stainless steel scrap prices. Moreover, from a political point of view it would be unfavourable for European producers to lower alloy surcharges at the moment.
Billions in tax subsidies beckon
Several important decisions are pending on the part of the EU and the European Commission (EC). These include not only market protection measures such as CBAM, but also billions in subsidies in the form of free ETS certificates, subsidies for the green transformation, the planned EU scrap export ban and energy cost subsidies.
The European steel producers are hoping for a few briefcases full of taxpayers’ money under the Christmas tree and are therefore currently lobbying particularly intensively for the enforcement of their demands.
Indonesia loses nickel dispute against EU
Official WTO announcement still pending
An official announcement regarding the ruling is expected to be made to WTO members by the end of November, before it comes up in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). According to media reports, Indonesia could appeal the decision.
EU had sued Indonesia
The EU had taken Indonesia to the WTO after the country with the world’s largest nickel reserves imposed an export ban on the raw material, which is so important for stainless steel and battery production, in early 2020.
Appeal against result, nickel export tax, OPEC?
The Indonesian government, according to its own statements, is relaxed about this, but will appeal against the DSB’s decision. In addition, a nickel export tax is still on the agenda, which has again been discussed in the media in recent weeks. At the recently concluded G20 summit, Indonesia also approached Canada about the introduction of an organisation for nickel comparable to OPEC. It should therefore be clear that some political capital will be brought into play by the Asian country in order to prevent the outflow of the large, but also finite nickel reserves.
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