Argentina – The Argentinian government’s decision to extend the existing ban on ferrous scrap exports by a year has reaped mixed industry views.
Contrary to criticism from the ferrous sector, Argentina’s industrial foundry chamber Cifra has declared the continued export ban to be a positive factor for the country’s economy. ‘Scrap sellers were establishing low prices to stimulate exports to the detriment of internal supply,’ it claimed. The domestic sector is under pressure, it says, owing to an annual scrap consumption increase averaging 5-6%.
The Argentinian government has reacted to the debate, stating that the recent ban extension is meant mainly to shield domestic steelmakers. The legislators reason: ‘The steel industry cannot afford to lose these inputs.’ Untrue, claim local scrap dealers, who believe the move will ‘further insulate’ the nation’s market from foreign investors.
An executive from a Brazilian steelmaker has told Platts’ Steel Business Briefing that Argentina’s scrap players are, in essence, ‘being held hostage by the situation’. He added that, during the week in which the latest extension was put into effect, the country witnessed a notable drop in prices of both iron ore and natural gas, making blast furnace production cheaper. ‘Scrap prices also went down by about 100-150 Argentinian pesos per tonne (US$ 20-30),’ noted the steelmaker.