Italian mills’ December and January maintenance stoppages will be longer-than-usual this year and will have an impact on scrap demand in the first quarter, whose outlook appears uncertain, Italian steel trade association Assofermet says in its monthly market note sent to Kallanish.
Increases announced by some mills on certain finished products may be the prelude to a recovery starting in the first quarter but most probably more prominent in the second quarter.
Low scrap availability persists in Italy, which is contributing to stable month-on-month prices in December despite the uncertainty over finished products sales.
Meanwhile, demand for pig iron from steelmakers remains good overall, as does pig iron availability at ports. Production curbs at some CIS producers do not seem to have had an impact on prices so far, Assofermet says. It observes very different quotes on the market depending on country of origin, with Italian mills continuing to avoid hot-briquetted iron, meaning appetite for the feedstock remains limited in the country.
Natalia Capra France