Italian scrap market uncertainty persists: Assofermet

Scrap prices in Italy continue to decline this month as the war in Ukraine, Covid-19 pandemic flare-up in China, freight disruption and high costs of energy are causing uncertainty on the wider international arena, says Italian trade association Assofermet in its monthly market report sent to Kallanish.

The month of May is surrounded by “enormous doubt”, the association comments. Mills’ cautious attitude to scrap purchases and a sudden halt in deliveries due to their full scrap yards are supporting the weak pricing.

Last month, the Italian government started discouraging scrap exports towards countries outside the EU. Sellers are now obliged to notify the Ministry of Economic Development (Mise) of each export deal. Merchants consider this a form of “bullying” from mills aimed at keeping scrap within the country (see Kallanish 24 March). Italian traders are meanwhile seeing their activity restricted, on the one hand, and are also selling little on the domestic market because of the low volumes required this month by local producers.

Scrap grade new arisings E8 is currently “almost completely unsaleable”. In less than two weeks, prices have lost over €100/ tonne ($104). Cheaper demolition grades are currently more popular.

Given the strong scrap price decline in Italy, appetite for hot-briquetted iron is almost zero, the report points out. The association has also registered a strong price decline for pig iron both in Italy and internationally, particularly for Russian-origin material. Ukrainian pig iron is meanwhile coming back to the Italian market at higher values but with limited volumes.

Natalia Capra France