The European stainless steel sector is under pressure, with uncertainty fuelled from various quarters. First of all, economic growth in the continent’s biggest economy, Germany, has declined quarter after quarter and some leading market analysts are predicting some kind of recession. Both exports and domestic demand have deteriorated during the past month.
Furthermore, the nearing of Brexit and its still-questionable timetable and agreement content are constantly raising the levels of uncertainty, with significant effects on consumers’ purchasing behaviour.
On top of this critical situation, penetration of finished stainless goods into the EU are at a record high of more than 30%. Not only the import volumes but also the price levels offered remain a threat.
Against this backdrop, chrome and iron prices have declined once again. The nickel price has been the exception and is trading currently at around US$ 17,500 per tonne. As a consequence, prices for stainless scrap have declined significantly over the past month.
With all the uncertainty described above, the situation is set to remain challenging into next year.