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The traditional summer holiday period has started in the Benelux market. Prior to this, the most remarkable event came out of the Netherlands where the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte has fallen and elections are now likely to take place later this year. And this while the Dutch economy has shrunk slightly, according to latest readings. 

Typically, the weeks prior to the holidays are known as a period of high trading activity, with most yards tending to clear their inventories. This year, the levels of buying and selling were hindered by the weakening of various markets and only peaked a little once these were slightly stronger. In general, however, there is less scrap available, with mainly industrial scrap below the norm. With the markets currently a bit off, there does not seem to be much of a spark to the materials markets at present. 

On the aluminium front, production of extrusions has been hampered by poorer demand for finished products. Given the tighter availability of scrap units and volumes, this might create potential shortages once demand picks up again. Looking at the secondary aluminium market, exports out of the EU are much more attractive at present. 

Most brass foundries are continuing to face weaker demand, mainly ex automotive and exceptions not taken into account. There is a demand for copper scrap within the EU but volumes are lagging behind. 

Investments by mechanical processors in upgrading their equipment remain strong, driven mainly by the quest for greater sustainability and to satisfy potential rules and regulations in the future relating to the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.