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Eastern Europe

As attacks on infrastructure continue, Ukraine is still experiencing interruptions to lighting, heating and water supplies. However, the blackouts are now mostly scheduled such that citizens and businesses can plan accordingly. To survive winter and keep operations running during these blackouts, people are purchasing diesel generators; indeed, it was almost impossible to buy one in December owing to the huge demand.

An unusually warm winter in Europe has helped ease the energy crisis. Gas at the Dutch TTF hub with delivery in February fell by 2% to Euro 65.50 per MWh; at their peak in August 2022, gas prices reached Euro 350 per MWh. Poland - which was one of the first countries to ban coal imports from Russia in 2022 - was able to find replacement supplies from elsewhere and so the country entered winter with decent stocks.

There has been a palpable increase in brass and copper scrap supply within Poland owing to higher LME levels, as well as to changes to pre-shipment inspection certification procedures for India and to Chinese New Year holidays which have resulted in fewer sales to these two markets.

The Russian market is slow following the New Year holidays. There is less scrap available owing to the winter conditions and an unfavourable ruble rate. Weakness in the economy is leading to metal theft on an enormous scale.