Recycled steel prices faced with ‘challenging supply conditions’, BIR says

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has reported that in its Ferrous Mirror publication that “challenging supply conditions for many recyclers are not reflected in prices for recycled steel”. 

The United Kingdom highlighted that exports from the country have “become even more important” because of domestic demand, which has been described as “dismal”. The UK has also reported it has seen increased demand from India. 

A steelworks company, Tata Steel, has confirmed closure of its blast furnaces in Port Talbot and is proceeding with its $1.5 billion (US) investment in an electric arc furnace which is scheduled to open in late 2027. 


The BIR reported that near the end of the first quarter of this year in Germany, the price of recycled steel lost its earlier gains on waning interest from export markets, as well as domestic finished steel price weakness due to poor demand, import pressure and overcapacity on a global scale. 

Scandinavia stated that battles for volume are resulting in lower profit margins and reduced earnings. 

The Turkish market has highlighted that recycled steel price levels are “relatively reasonable from a historical perspective” but clarifies this is not an “expression of major buying interest”.  


The USA, Canada and Europe have reported that projected EAF investments should lead to an increase in recycled steel demand. However, the BIR has reported that trade tension, global conflicts and political climates have led to an “increased regionalised of trade”. 

The USA has also stated that mills in the country have applied downward pressure on recycled steel suppliers in response to the weak steel prices. 


Over in Japan, the depreciation of the yen to the US dollar is said to have increased the competitiveness of recycled steel exported from the country. But due to falling prices of steel products from China, inquiries from importing countries are weak. 

The Japanese Ministry of Finance and Trade Statistics reported that in March 515,971 tonnes of recycled steel was exported, 17.4% down from February and 10.4% down from the same period last year. 


In the latest “World Steel Recycling in Figures” publication from the BIR Ferrous Division covering the whole of 2023, statistics advisor Rolf Willeke said: “Recycled steel usage across key countries and regions was 12% lower last year at 411.281 million tonnes, despite a 0.2% increase in their total crude steel production to 1.555 billion tonnes. These figures represent verified data for 82.2% of global steelmaking last year.” 

The BIR confirmed that China remained the world’s largest user of recycled steel with a 21% share of crude steel production. 

According to the BIR, Turkey as the world’s largest recycled steel importer with India having been recorded as second-largest importer in 2023, followed by Vietnam. 

The leading recycled steel exporter in 2023 is said to be the EU-27. The USA was in second place, although its overseas shipments dropped 6.9% to 16.264 million tonnes. 

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