Export demand lifts steel scrap prices in Germany

19 July 2017

Following declines in the previous months, ferrous scrap prices strengthened again on the German market in July. It was Turkish mills that provided the room for price increases. Market observers reported that steel makers in Turkey had full order books and the resulting demand for scrap was also high. Accordingly, a substantial flow of ferrous scrap was being removed from the domestic market by deep sea exports.

Market participants credited high demand both from the Turkish domestic market and from countries in the Middle East with the high capacity utilisation rates at the country's steel mills. Italian mills were likewise benefiting from Algerian orders, after long-awaited import licences for reinforcing steel were granted. At the same time, there was less pressure coming from Chinese suppliers of steel products. It was good for the market that there was no new steel coming from China, said one merchant. However, threatened import duties from the US hung like a sword of Damocles over the market.

Demand for scrap on the domestic German market is good overall thanks to a strong steel market. Integrated steel mills were still contributing to overall scrap demand. Despite the decline in ore and coking coal prices, they were keeping the steel scrap share stable and continuing to buy considerable quantities of new scrap on the market.

Even where shutdowns at steel mills or at factories where scrap is generated result in regional market shifts, supply and demand remain balanced, albeit at a slightly lower level. The market is expected to remain solid in August as well.