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United Kingdom

There was a positive start to the spring, with prices rising dramatically across the LME at the end of March and copper briefly peaking at US$ 10,000 per tonne. The spike in the market initially attracted more material into yards and foundries but, as the weeks have passed, UK merchants have been reporting material volumes no higher than they were before the price increases.

Domestic sectors such as manufacturing, construction and demolition are still not at the same levels as last year. Merchants are finding material sales still strong. Some discounts have been reduced but are not reflecting the market rise.

Aluminium demand has picked up, especially for mixed grades, with new technology or sorting/grading machinery to separate alloys. Whereas most merchants had been shearing alloys, this grade is now going to yards employing shredders with separation technology.

Lead and batteries are still difficult to move in any great quantity given ongoing delivery problems for certain mills.

Permitting regulations and cable-handling are about to change in the UK, with some larger concerns jostling for position in the market with acquisitions of cable granulation plants.