Skip to main content

Middle East

We are witnessing highly disrupted, anxious and risky times across the board, both politically and economically. Alongside the conflict in Ukraine, base metals have been reaching record highs while oil and gold also pushed on to elevated levels in early March amid the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The supply chain had already been under tremendous pressure these past two years as a result of the pandemic, and now the Ukraine/Russia conflict and the associated sanctions have brought even tighter supply and movements of material, a continuously climbing LME and an even more difficult period than we experienced one or two years ago.

Moreover, COVID cases in China have recently been at their highest level since the pandemic began, with major industrial regions placed in immediate lockdown. This will create further reverberations in the crisis-torn logistics-supply chain.

Illustrating exactly how tough and unprecedented this period has become for metals traders, nickel recently reached US$ 100,000 per tonne on the LME. Copper and aluminium also achieved highs before dropping steeply and fluctuating on an hourly basis. With nickel trading suspended on the LME before resuming briefly and then halting again, the situation is unclear for most people. It has been challenging to move non-ferrous scrap during this period given the quieter demand globally.

In the Middle East, scrap markets saw steady supply over the early part of this year but, as elsewhere, supply has stumbled along with demand over recent weeks. Most suppliers and exporters are carefully watching how events and markets unfold over the coming period. The holy month of Ramadan in April will possibly put even more pressure on supply and scrap metal movements.