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The further depreciation of the Japanese currency to Yen 149 to the US dollar attracted more than 2 million inbound tourists in August, exceeding 80% of post-COVID levels for the first time. Inflation has remained around 3% for the last eight months; although the key interest rate remains quite low, it may be increased at some point in the near future.

The qualified invoice-based method was imposed this October. Both registered as well as tax-exempted companies are required to go through a lot of paperwork and adaptation to the new system, thereby significantly reducing everyone’s productivity.

The price of aluminium scrap remains high owing to reduced levels of availability. Export volumes of 4N grade zinc ingots have been at record highs for the last 16 months, pulled by strong demand from India.

The impact of India’s newly-imposed BIS certification on copper cathodes has still to be seen, but Japanese smelters cannot ignore a sudden change in rules by the largest consuming country. There is concern that more than 200,000 tons of copper cathodes may not have a place to go next year.