Ferrous scrap markets have seen significant disruption in recent years, first as a result of the Covid pandemic, then major supplier Russia’s heavy export duty imposition, and finally the Ukraine war and its repercussions. Since demand from steelmakers recovered following the initial Covid shock in 2020, scrap prices have remained elevated, comfortably above the average of the last ten years. This is even the case following the easing of Covid-induced logistical disruptions and demand for scrap from Turkey, the world’s largest importer, being hampered for much of 2022 due to mills there struggling with steel exports.
Scrap has seen various trends in recent years, but none are more dominating or will be as long-lasting as the global push to decarbonise steelmaking. Numerous blast furnace-based mills, especially in Europe, are converting to the direct reduced iron-electric arc furnace route, where DRI produced using hydrogen is sure to be supplemented with scrap as EAF feedstock. In the meantime, however, BF mills will increase their use of scrap as a fast way of reducing carbon emissions, thereby tightening the market and keeping prices elevated.
India, which showed strong scrap demand in 2022 during weaker Turkish buying periods, is meanwhile likely to require more scrap going forward, firmly cementing itself as challenger to Turkish mills for global supply.
Alongside scrap, the growth in consumption of low- or zero-emission, hydrogen-reduced ore-based metallics – direct reduced iron and hot-briquetted iron – is likely to accelerate as a result of decarbonisation. As more production capacity is built, the long-standing issue of insufficient high-grade iron ore pellet feedstock availability will need to be resolved once and for all.
SLEM 2023 will aim to discuss all of these issues in detail and answer pressing questions, such as: Will rising energy costs intensify competition for higher scrap grades? How likely are we to see more countries resort to restricting scrap exports to maintain their competitive advantage? How will global scrap trade evolve in 2023? How can DRI-EAF steel supply chains ensure sufficient high-grade raw material availability?
Scrap and Low-emission Metallics 2023 will be held in English only.
Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, UAE.