The end is near, but only in terms of the year. The market is in a kind of Sleeping Beauty mode: even as the LME goes up and comes down again, it can be seen that nobody is really panicking or getting overexcited to see in 2022 the same market rise as we have witnessed over the last 11 months.
Aluminium ingot prices have dropped in recent weeks but the continent’s shortage of scrap has resulted in stable prices. The shortages of magnesium and silicon have not yet been resolved but the situation is better than it was in the summer. Automotive industry order books are full; ordering a new car today can mean a wait of up to 12 months depending on the chosen model. This is why the smelting and recycling industries are neither pessimistic nor euphoric.
On the copper market, the winter is bringing slower collection, sorting and recycling activity, especially in Northern Europe. Smelters in Europe do not expect a larger supply of copper scrap over the coming weeks so that the market may remain in shortage. Discounts are stable and cathode premiums too, while the backwardation tornado also appears to have stabilized. The unemployment rate in Germany is dropping and, in addition to the shortage of scrap, there is a major labour shortage too which will have a big influence in areas such as logistics, yard operations and construction.
Tomorrow is another day, different from today. Even though tomorrow will become today, and today yesterday. Yes, you are right, I have tried to confuse you - just as the recycling industry was confused by the EU’s announcements in November. At the same time, it was confirmed that China will not sign the OECD paper. As a result, a perfect confusion has arisen by mixing the revision of EU waste shipment regulation with the need to have an end-of-waste licence to continue exporting to China. The fact is that whatever is agreed for the new regulation will require several years to be implemented in our daily work. Until then, keep supporting your association and keep reminding authorities and politicians of the importance of a free market to our recycling industry.