The speed of recovery for the domestic economy appears slow and yet activity levels are increasing - especially in the tourism industry as the year-long depreciation of the Japanese currency to a rate of Yen 138 to the US dollar attracted nearly 2 million people to the country in May. Meanwhile, the Japanese government’s tax revenues climbed to record levels in the 2022 financial year.
In June 2023, car production increased 49% year on year and sales volumes have started to follow, as well as for new housing.
For brass manufacturers, stocks accumulated during the pandemic are gradually being consumed: some of these operators are now ready to order raw materials but others still have enough stock. Copper wire production is being driven by China’s electric vehicle demand but other applications - such as smartphones and digital home appliances - remain quiet. Demand for copper scrap remains relatively low but generation is even lower, thus keeping prices at a high level. Meanwhile, it is proving to be a difficult time for the scrap transportation sector.
In the aluminium scrap market, competition is heating up among domestic collectors. Owing to high energy costs, electricity companies are tending to postpone the replacement of power cables, resulting in low generation of good-quality scrap.