German scrap exports hit lowest level since 2009

Ferrous scrap exports from Germany decreased significantly in 2022, show data from the German federal statistics office.

In January-December, shipments totalled 7.7 million tonnes, down 14% on 2021, Kallanish notes. This was the lowest export volume since the economic and financial crisis of 2009, say local experts.

In the preceding years, 2016 to 2021, annual exports differed only minimally, between 8.6mt and 8.8mt, Kallanish gathers from an overview issued by steel federation WV Stahl.

Despite the sharply reduced trade volume, the export value of scrap exports increased. According to German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) data, this amounted to €4.9 billion ($5.2 billion) in 2022, compared to €4.5 billion in the previous year.

The main target country is traditionally the Netherlands, but exports to this destination fell even more significantly, by 17.8% to almost 1.6mt, according to recycling federation BVSE. To Italy, the second-largest buyer country, 12-month exports dropped by 13% to 1.46mt.

Turkey is the most important customer outside the EU. German direct exports here totalled 624,956t, down by 5% on-year in 2022.

However, the surge continued in deliveries to India, which at 198,474t were up 187% on-year.

Scrap imports by the German steel industry also fell last year by 12% on-year to 4.3mt. The value of all scrap imports last year was at €2.2 billion, the same level as the previous year, despite the significant drop in volumes.

The most important trading partner here was also the Netherlands, which provided 931,565t, down by 3.1% on-year.

The second-largest supplier was Czech Republic with 809,542t, down 15.3%, and third-largest was Poland with 648,684t, down by 20.4% on-year.

German scrap prices have increased in March amid higher demand and exports (see Kallanish passim). Local market participants expect this trend to continue in the next few weeks amid restocking from Turkish mills in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria