German recyclers want to keep scrap within EU

Germany’s steel scrap recyclers have expressed their desire to keep accrued scrap within the borders of the EU, and are seeking solutions for a circular economy at the European Commission level.

The EU produces more steel scrap than it recycles, with some 20 million tonnes/year exported. This essentially goes against the idea of avoiding transport in the interest of climate protection, says German steel recyclers federation BDSV.

In the first half of 2020, Germany’s exports of steel scrap totalled 3.84 million tonnes, which was -14.5% less on-year. The main target countries were the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey. It is likely that much of the volume sent to Belgium and the Netherlands eventually ended up in deep-sea markets like Turkey. Shipments to Italy and Luxembourg dropped significantly, Kallanish learns from BDSV statistics.

Imports of scrap into Germany totalled 1.54mt, down -17.1% on-year, and came mainly from Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands and France. Notable deviations from the first half of 2019 occurred with the Netherlands (-41.5%) and Poland (+10.7%).

In terms of prices, BDSV notes that fluctuations this year were comparably minor, with notations for new arisings sort 2/8 at between €196/tonne ($233) and €230/t. Meanwhile, 2019 had seen a range of between €170 and €256.

A BDSV sentiment poll shows that members this year have been more optimistic about business and more willing to invest and to hire staff than in 2019. Although more than half of the companies have operated on reduced hours, at least temporarily, after the outbreak of Covid-19, none had to close, and only 15% laid off personnel.