Canada’s Central Bank recently announced it would maintain its benchmark interest rate near zero while signalling chances of a rate hike come March 2022. The bank estimates Canada’s GDP accelerated to an annual rate of 5.8%, unusually high considering the influence of the Omicron variant of COVID. The bank also expressed its satisfaction at the results from fiscal stimulus put in place to offset the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
An estimated 79% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, but there has been a dramatic reduction to the point of scarcity in physical testing kits and high requirements from the health system. From an all-time high of over 65,000 cases per day in early January 2022, Canada is reporting around 25,000 new cases per day at the time of writing - a significant improvement of late but still well above the 11,000 daily average from the beginning of the pandemic.
It is not a surprise to many that scrap flows tend to slow in December and January given the combination of holidays, snow and low temperatures. Steel prices dropping by between US$ 40 and US$ 60 per net ton in certain regions has amplified the drop in non-ferrous metal flows.
Logistics problems are still forcing many to use creative measures to ensure vessel space when exporting. Pre-booking such space has been key but certain shipping lines are now issuing penalties against unused bookings, making this practice delicate. Trucking is at its worst at present owing to Canada’s new law forcing drivers who cross the border with the USA to be fully vaccinated. A 70km-long convoy of trucks is protesting across the country, creating a shortage of goods and transport availability.