Old steel scrap prices tumble again in September amid slow export business

Ferrous scrap prices dropped in Germany.
21.09.2021 − 

Little has changed on Germany's ferrous scrap market, even now that operations return to normal at steel manufacturers and converters following the summer holidays. Exports are still slow, creating a surplus of old steel scrap grades. German steel mills, which essentially still have enough on stock, leveraged the situation to institute another round of huge price reductions, mainly for old steel scrap. In contrast, new steel scrap remains highly sought-after. With supply remaining strained, price cuts for these grades were relatively modest in September. The price differential between old steel scrap and new steel scrap prices has taken on historic dimensions.

Hopes expressed by a few merchants during the last EUWID survey that export prices would firm up have been dashed. Turkish steel mills are still managing to keep their purchasing prices low, and are sourcing scrap at low prices, primarily in the US. "You have to take your hat off to the Turks. They are playing their cards well," one merchant remarked. Turkish steel producers had succeeded in eking out their margins again amidst good opportunities to sell steel.

German exporters were typically neither willing nor able to accept the prices secured by Turkish buyers. A lot of scrap is staying in Germany as a result, sending material away from the coast and towards the south. Demand from German steel mills for lower-quality old steel scrap grades that are otherwise exported was "very modest" again in September, merchants pointed out. Many mills still good stock levels after summer holiday stoppages in July and August, insiders said. This was especially true for Italian steel mills – key buyers for southern German scrap merchants – which were now ordering very cautiously after buying a lot in June and July and shutting down for extended period of time during the August holidays. If they were sourcing scrap at all, these mills were said to be buying only from Italian merchants.

The full report on the steel scrap market in Germany appears in the print and e-paper issues of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management (18/2021), published on 22 September. Online subscribers can access the report immediately here:

Steel scrap in Germany

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