On the German ferrous scrap market, the year 2023 ended with an unexpectedly strong price increase. Once again, as is often the case, the momentum was provided by the export business with Turkey. From the beginning of the month, Turkish steel mills started to ramp up their purchases. The resulting leap in export prices then also caused scrap prices in Germany to rise by a double-digit euro figure.
Nevertheless, traders say scrap demand from local steel mills remains subdued overall. In response to the price rally, some steelworks had attempted to top up their scrap inventories a bit before the Christmas holidays. In many instances, though, the trading volumes were small and transactions were only being done to maintain business relationships, market participants explained.
Traders say they were "caught completely off-guard" by the considerable price upswing at the end of the year. When surveyed in November, they had been expecting prices to remain steady or even decline slightly. But Turkish steel producers’ growing appetite for imports combined with limited scrap availability led to a rapid surge in export prices in early December.
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