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It’s official: the stainless steel industry is experiencing a sharp slowdown. Following a respectable first quarter in which the major European stainless steel mills recorded good results, a downward spiral of declining sales has since been triggered. This is rapidly leading to a steep drop in coil prices. In fact, all sectors that use stainless steel products experienced an April that has not been seen in many years. Empty order books have hit production and consequently the generation of new scrap.

In the second quarter of 2023, Italy’s stainless steel mills may have limited availability of scrap owing to a possible reduction in supply caused by a decrease in recycling. Domestic demand for stainless steel may be influenced by the economic situation and the level of investments in infrastructure and construction projects. If the Italian economy continues to grow, demand for stainless steel may increase, but this will also depend on the competitiveness of Italian producers compared to those of other countries.

Compared to what was reported in the previous Mirror, macro-economic conditions have seen: continuous growth in interest rates; a slight slowdown in inflation; and a sharp decline in energy costs.

In conclusion, the upcoming months do not look set to be very exciting for our industry, both in terms of quantities and prices. In fact, June will bring sales prices similar to those of last July/August. Furthermore, it should be noted that almost all stainless steel mills are implementing production shutdown periods, precisely to demonstrate this lack of orders and simultaneously the attempt to significantly reduce the purchase price of scrap.