Skip to main content

United Kingdom

Two months of a more stable LME have led to material flowing throughout the UK.

Merchants in London and the surrounding areas have been profiting from the city’s introduction of its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme, which has meant more vehicles of a certain age being scrapped to boost the capital’s air quality. In turn, this has produced an abundance of non-ferrous automotive scrap over the last few months and this looks set to continue for the time being.

The construction industry has come to a halt at present, affecting different sectors and businesses around the country. Fortunately, and unlike for ferrous, non-ferrous supply has not been affected by this.

LME aluminium was recently at its highest level for a couple of months, resulting in an active UK market owing to a favourable US dollar exchange rate. Of late, aluminium has been free-flowing domestically, with shredder operators and merchants benefiting from this and moving stock in high quantities. But even though export markets seem strong, mills in the UK and Europe appear to be at capacity in terms of stock, meaning higher grades of aluminium are going to be harder to move now until the new year.

With all copper cables now being classed as hazardous in the UK, operators and granulators are waiting on guidance from the environmental authorities about the next steps in how to treat them. Despite the uncertainty, high tonnages of cable are still being recycled throughout the country, with granulators and merchants hoping for limited disruption to operations heading into 2024.

Although there was a slow start to trading in the UK this year, with unfamiliar quiet periods for many of us, the latter part of 2023 has been healthier trade-wise and has fuelled hopes of 2024 following this trend.