If we exclude the First and Second World Wars, the worst year for a century has just ended - and yet our sector seems to have been barely affected, with the exception of the period immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic which included the second and third quarters of 2020.
In fact, since the final quarter of last year and up to now, there has been a strong recovery in the quantities requested by stainless steel mills and also prices; in Italy, stainless steel scrap prices have climbed around 30%. This surge is due both to the increase in raw material prices and to the scarcity of scrap when compared to what is required by the mills. The sudden increase in production across Europe is believed to be the effect of duties applied to stainless steel imports from non-European countries.
In Europe, the highest scrap price peaks have been seen in Italy - mainly due to greater internal demand and the speculative approach of operators who have started selling all their “old” quantities following an increase in sales prices. Larger-scale production by the mills is expected to last at least until April, and most likely until June this year.
Prices in March are likely to remain in line with February levels, whereas April could see a large increase owing to higher prices for chrome and most likely for nickel, as well as a probable recovery for the iron component.
Nichel Leghe Spa (ITA)