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Uruguay: COVID puts brake on business activity

A second wave of COVID infections hit Uruguay at the end of February and the beginning of March. As of May 10, 22.5% of the population has been completely vaccinated, the majority with China’s Sinovac vaccine. It is possible to see a drop in case numbers but deaths remain high and are not appearing to slow down. Owing to the significant number of cases and to mobility restriction measures, business slowed in the first quarter of 2021. Home-working policies have reduced companies’ movements of scrap.

The good news is that China is back in the market and buying at a healthy rate. Also, commodity prices have been on the rise for some time, giving recyclers some breathing space.

Once again, the biggest competitor for established recyclers remains the smuggling of metal. This remains intense despite the fact that Brazil’s legally-established businesses are not enjoying good buying prices because of the damaging impact of COVID.