Stainless steel availability with first gaps
Stainless steel availability with first gaps

14 October 2022 – The availability of stainless steel in the European Union is showing the first gaps for 304 and 316. Overland shipments remain a challenge. Mexico introduces export ban on certain scrap types. Asian nickel futures end the week up.

Stainless steel already showing gaps in availability.

With September 2022 having gone much better than expected for European service centres and distributors in some cases, market participants say that, in addition to fallen inventories, the first gaps in the availability of certain stainless steel products in the 304 and 316, hot-rolled and cold-rolled ranges are beginning to emerge.

Overland transport remains a challenge

At the same time, overland transports remain a challenge, making early logistical planning of intra- and extra-European deliveries necessary. So that no deliveries are left behind for the peak season in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Mexico introduces scrap export ban

One of the most important scrap suppliers to the United States, Mexico, has suspended exports of steel and aluminium scrap from the packaging industry for the time being. The export ban on scrap is part of a package of measures by the Mexican government to combat inflation in the country.

Mexico shipped more than 340,000 metric tonnes of aluminium scrap from the packaging industry to the United States in the first 8 months of this year alone.

The US-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, which represents more than 1,300 companies in the recycling industry, is currently trying to persuade the Mexican government to give in.

Kazakhstan also wants to extend scrap export ban

The Kazakh government has also put the extension of its six-month scrap export ban on its agenda. Discussions on this issue were supposed to have been concluded by 5 October, but a final confirmation seems to be still pending.

Kazakhstan had introduced the export ban on scrap in May 2022 because, according to the government, local steel producers did not have enough raw materials available.

Export bans on scrap increasing worldwide

The increasing export bans on ferrous and non-ferrous scrap worldwide, most recently the United Arab Emirates had extended its export ban, point to hot competition for much-needed raw materials. Scrap is becoming increasingly important as its use as a secondary raw material not only significantly reduces CO2 emissions but also helps to lower energy costs.

Asian nickel futures close the week on a positive note

After a rather volatile week on the nickel front, nickel futures on the SHFE closed positive. The SHFE.NI2211 contract was up almost 3.5% on the start of the week, while the SHFE.NI2210 was up more than 3.5%.

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