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Japan

The yen has hit its lowest point since 1998. Contrary to the global trend and regardless of a growing trade deficit, the Bank of Japan has kept the interest rate low, causing mild inflation for the first time in three decades.

The Japanese government has eventually started eliminating hurdles for foreign visitors in a bid to improve the domestic economy. Meanwhile, support for the Cabinet has fallen below 30% over the costs of holding a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party’s links with a controversial religious group.

A shortage of domestic copper scrap has pushed exports below 30,000 tonnes per month while stabilizing imports above 10,000 tonnes per month. While domestic scrap generation remains low, rolling mills are becoming cautious about not overbuying scrap raw materials.

Hungry domestic aluminium alloy producers have been struggling to source scrap locally, making it expensive. Neither local demand nor demand from exporters is being fulfilled.

Stainless steel exporters are being discouraged by the currently depressed prices on offer from buyers abroad, with the exception of those shipping to China. Otherwise, domestic mills’ relatively strong prices are helping to keep local scrap within the country.