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Steel scrap sector fears grow

European recycling bodies have expressed serious concern over a drop in steel consumption and the future of the sector.

At the general assembly of the European Ferrous Recovery and Recycling Federation (EFR) in Brussels delegates from European national ferrous recycling federations discussed market and legislative developments affecting the EU’s steel recycling sector.

Crude steel production was down by 4.5 per cent during the first six months of this year, reaching 89 million tonnes compared with the same period last year. Steel scrap use by the EU steel mills showed a comparatively smaller decrease of 3.4 per cent to reach 51.4 million tonnes.

There was also a surplus of 8.5 million tonnes because of a 12.7% increase in steel scrap exports to third countries to reach 10.3 million tonnes and a simultaneous 5.4% decline in steel scrap imports.

The federation said that delegates concluded that the situation of the EU steel industry was “worrying”, with steel demand 25% below 2007 levels and with a 25-30% overcapacity.

Steelworks closures, mergers and environmental issues represented a serious threat to the steel sector, the federation said.

“As Turkey, the main scrap purchaser is being squeezed out of its traditional market, the EU markets for steel and scrap will undoubtedly be affected,” said EFR president Tom Bird.

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