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South East Asia

With commodity prices surging to multi-week highs of late, there have been mixed feelings within the marketplace. While businesses could be more motivated to sell in a bid to capitalize on these increases, most smelters and mills have struggled to keep pace with the rapidly-rising prices. Inventories are low but market players are willing to take a step back and show patience with this current situation. Processors in Thailand have switched their focus to non-standard materials in order to cope with this unsettled market.

In Thailand’s Chonburi Province, a recent incident at an electronic waste facility has highlighted the environmental hazards relating to the improper disposal of industrial waste water. The facility has been accused of discharging contaminated water into a nearby well, resulting in foul odours and disruption to local residents’ daily lives. This has not only posed a threat to public health but also raised concerns about the larger issue of environmental pollution in the region. On receiving complaints from the residents who have been affected, the media have shed light on the severity of the situation and prompted the authorities to take swift action. Investigations have been launched to ensure that other processing yards in the area are adhering to environmental regulations. The scrutiny faced by the electronic waste facility has created additional challenges for new processors seeking environmental permits in the region, causing delays in their projects.

Market conditions in Malaysia have remained relatively stable, with signs indicating a decrease in import costs. However, this positive trend is being overshadowed by the continuing shortage of supply which has forced businesses to scramble for necessary materials, driving up prices and disrupting production. In turn, this has led to a further lowering of processing costs as companies seek ways to make do with whatever limited resources they have at their disposal. However, these short-term cost savings come at the expense of long-term sustainability and quality.