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Germany

Germany saw its GDP grow a modest 0.2% in the first quarter of 2024, according to an initial estimate from the Federal Statistical Office, and thus narrowly avoided recession. Economists perceive this as the onset of a potential turnaround; those surveyed by news agency Reuters had anticipated minimal growth of 0.1%.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Europe’s largest economy had contracted by a revised 0.5% from the previous estimate of 0.3%. Two consecutive quarters of decline are typically characterized by economists as a technical recession.

However, there is still a palpable negative impact from limited construction activity, with the volume of recycled metals from demolition projects continuing to be insufficient.

The past few weeks have been marked by a significant surge in the LME. The higher prices led to more tonnage becoming available, although this was only temporary because reduced availability limited the extra quantities traded on the market. Comparing the development of copper and aluminium prices with the pre-pandemic period, it is evident that, during a similarly sharp rise in the market back then, much larger quantities were available. While there is no cause for complaint, it is clear that the global economy - especially in terms of recycled metals from production - has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Many European producers are unable to follow the market increase. However, it is noticeable that recycled raw material volumes are still insufficient and that factories are searching for deliveries. The most recent official prices of DIN 226/A380 aluminium ingots show an increase of more than Euro 120 per tonne in recent weeks, with the differential between the lowest and highest prices being nearly Euro 100.