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The persistent Ukraine conflict and COVID-related uncertainties in Asia have intensified the slowdown in the economy, and especially in our sector.

We had been perfectly aware that the continuous growth seen since October 2020 would stop sooner or later. It all started with a decrease in end consumers’ demand for steel products, to the extent that mills are now unable to force their hands on prices owing to oversupply. Also, available quotas of duty-free Asian products have filled the European market at clearly lower prices. The counter-move by the steel mills has been to bring down scrap prices in a bid to regain competitiveness immediately. These sudden decreases recorded for stainless steel products were preceded by decreases for iron materials.

Basically, the only material that has maintained a very high quotation in the European market is chromium which, indeed, has recorded a strong increase in this second quarter; neither has molybdenum suffered major declines. At the same time, however, there has been a collapse in nickel and iron prices.

As a result of the aforementioned Ukraine conflict and uncertainties in Asia, we do not expect easy months for our sector, with a probable further decline in prices and quantities sold.