BIR World Mirror on Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Quarterly Report October 2022 highlights that “Sales prices for stainless steel have fallen more rapidly than ever before in Europe amid tepid demand and record levels of imported finished goods, according to the latest World Mirror produced by the BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee. Faced with plenty of finished product in stock, producers are implementing some of the lowest capacity utilization rates ever known and are even laying off workers in some instances. Under these circumstances, both demand and prices for stainless scrap remain very low, especially as operators have expensive raw materials still in stock. As a result, many scrap sellers have looked to export scrap, including to Asia.”Likewise, softening market conditions in the USA have prompted stainless scrap sellers to explore other markets in recent months. Latest trade statistics from the Commerce Department reveal that the USA exported more than 253,000 tons of stainless steel scrap in January-July of this year for a 67% increase over the corresponding period in 2021. Notable outlets included India, Mexico, Canada and Germany.Conditions for US scrap processors and dealers are continuing to be complicated by tight labour markets and uncertain transportation networks. Declining container rates are indicative of gradually improving availability, but there are ongoing shortages of trucks and truck drivers.In Asia, meanwhile, demand for stainless steel remained on a downtrend in the third quarter and the outlook for the rest of the year is unpromising. Typhoon-related flood damage halted production at Posco’s Pohang stainless melt shop in South Korea, prompting buyers of stainless products to switch to other mills in the region and leaving approximately 25,000 tonnes per month of stainless scrap trying to find another home at a time when many mills are likely to be more cautious in their raw material purchasing.As reported previously, India has imposed a 15% export duty on finished stainless products, thereby slowing demand for scrap imports. Furthermore, India has begun to import slabs on a monthly basis, thus undermining the volumes of scrap that are usually brought in from abroad. The country’s scrap importers have also been hit by the weakness of the Indian rupee in relation to a strong US dollar.In China, stainless scrap demand is healthy owing to its current price advantage over nickel pig iron. And in what constitutes a rare event over the last two or three years, there have even been some imports of stainless scrap into China from Europe.In other developments, the UAE has extended a ban on exports of steel scrap, including stainless. This is affecting material flows to key buyers such as India and Pakistan.