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Russia’s restriction of scrap metal may benefit European export market

Russia’s decision to restrict the amount of scrap sent to the export market could benefit European scrap exporters such as the UK, as importing countries seek material from other sources.

A recent notice on the Bureau for International Recycling (BIR) website states that the Russian Federal Customs Service (RFCS) is planning to close the St Petersburg scrap export terminal, which will further narrow the amount of scrap exported from Russia. The country’s aim is to keep material in the country for its domestic mills.

The BIR said: “The EU’s major traditional importing countries from St Petersburg are Spain, the Netherlands, France, Finland and Germany. Russia’s political decision in favour of its domestic steel mills, and especially the state-owned mills, will most probably shift Turkish imports to the EU.”

Almost 50% of Russian scrap is exported to Spain.

A UK exporter told MRW: “This situation might help our market. Russia is quite a large player in the scrap steel market so, without their scrap, countries usually buying from there will have to look elsewhere. The UK does not deal directly with Russia in relation to the scrap market.”

BIR first reported on the situation in February. It warned that the RFCS intended to reduce the number of checkpoints for exports of ferrous and steel scrap from Russia.

BIR said: “The intention of the RFCS is to limit the number of checkpoints for sea transport to three, two for rail transport and for road transport to five, in an effort to slow down scrap shipments outside Russia, thereby favouring the supply of their domestic demand.

“BIR strongly condemns the increasing trend towards protectionist measures regarding scrap movements…which also represent a violation of World Trade Organisation rules.”

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