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Italy

There is a great desire among domestic non-ferrous metals operators for a “Renaissance” - even if every new day brings ever-higher energy bills. The pressure is so strong that fuel consumption is starting to slow down; this is not a good sign, although it could help to cool the market because lower energy consumption naturally corresponds to a slowdown in production activity. All of this would be a real threat to economic growth, sustainability and digitization.

The desire to go back to talking to each other in person is as great as the need to be systematic: the time has come for broader thinking whereby the market is understood as a place of collaboration and of synergies rather than of confrontation. The use of data - the raw material of the future - is and will be fundamental given that, between now and 2025, devices connected to the network will double in number. In the world of artificial intelligence, there will be an increasing requirement for analytical thinking, creativity and leadership.

Italian recyclers are well aware of this and are constantly scanning the horizon in their bid to predict copper and aluminium trends that will dictate the pace of this crazy market. Price tensions are considerable, with all the implications that follow in the real market. Automotive industry output, for example, has certainly recovered - up 47.9% in the first seven months of this year compared to January-July 2020, but still 8.1% below the same period in 2019. However, the situation remains complex owing to material and supply chain tensions: even before the recent price increases, it was difficult to procure the materials required for production, while finding transport containers remains very challenging.

In the automotive sector, the loss of 7 million units of production and the lack of electronic components - which will affect the whole of 2022 - will certainly have negative effects on efficiency and margins. This is only the beginning of an expansion phase fuelled by the exceptional public resources invested in Italy’s national recovery and resilience plan (PNRR).