Posted on 03/11/2009 in category Stainless



Brussels,3rd November 2009

BIRAutumn Round-Table Sessions
Amsterdam,26-27 October 2009

StainlessSteel & Special Alloys Committee:
Marketremains fragile

The forecast for global stainless steelproduction in 2009 has been reduced to around 24m tonnes “but it isdebatable whether this will be achieved”, the BIR Stainless Steel &Special Alloys Round-Table was warned in Amsterdam by its Chairman,Michael Wright of ELG Haniel Metals in the UK.

While he believes a figure of 23.5mtonnes may prove to be more realistic for this year, Mr Wright is“still optimistic” that the global output prediction of 27.2mtonnes for 2010 will be realised. The market continues to be“fragile” and “sensitive”, and it remains unclear when therecovery will begin to gain momentum, he told delegates.

The same speaker also noted that globalscrap availability appears set to fall from 7.5m tonnes in 2008 toaround 6.8m tonnes this year before increasing in 2010 and exceeding8m tonnes by 2013 at the latest.

In his report on the Asian market, MarkSellier of OneSteel Recycling summarised the concern central to manyof the national and regional reports, namely whether fundamentaldemand for stainless steel is sufficient to consume stock or whethera further period of decline should be anticipated.

Reporting on the US market, BarryHunter of Hunter Alloys LLC declared: “What is missing remains theend user.” Scrap continues to be tight and so any upturn indomestic consumer demand will probably be met with inflated scrapprices. Mr Hunter also identified a number of encouraging marketfactors including: more positive economic indicators in the USA; thenumber of huge energy/environmental projects “which eventually musthappen” and so boost demand for stainless and nickel-bearingmaterials; and anticipated 10% growth in Chinese stainless productionnext year.

Other reports also emphasised theshortage of stainless steel scrap, including that for the Middle Eastprovided by Ahmad Sharif of Sharif Metals Est. in Jordan. And in hisGermany/Belgium report, Michael Sutter of Cronimet GmbH in Germanyidentified a significant drop in new production scrap availability,adding that stainless scrap has become “a rare commodity”.

According to the report submitted byAnand Gupta of India-based Ambica Steels, latest figures show thathis country’s imports of stainless steel scrap are running some 27%below those of last year due to weak demand from domestic stainlesssteel producers. Operating capacities have improved to around 80-85%but prices for finished goods remain “under extreme pressure”.

Offering a Russian perspective, IldarNeverov of Scrap Market Ltd pointed to official forecasts thatstainless steel scrap exports will amount to around 100,000 tonnes in2009; however, the speaker believes the actual figure may besignificantly higher. Mr Neverov also alluded to unconfirmed reportsthat Russia is considering a five-fold increase in the export duty.“This would kill the export business,” he said.

In his high temperature alloy andtitanium report, Phil Rosenberg of Keywell in the USA confirmed thatboth markets remain quiet, not least due to low activity levels inthe aerospace sector. Of long-term concern for the scrap titaniumindustry is growing sponge capacity, he added.

Guest speaker at the BIR StainlessSteel & Special Alloys Round-Table was Sheraz Neffati, who is incharge of external relations at the International ChromiumDevelopment Association. Having described sustainability andrecycling as “our main challenges”, she showed a video hailingstainless steel as a “champion” of recycling.


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