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  • BIR World Mirror on Non-Ferrous Metals – Issue July 2023: Yards reporting significantly slower inflows of scrap
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BIR World Mirror on Non-Ferrous Metals – Issue July 2023: Yards reporting significantly slower inflows of scrap

  • 19 July 2023

A concise summary of the BIR World Mirror on Non-Ferrous Metals – Issue July 2023. Full version with detailed market reports available in the Members Only section of the BIR website.

Low generation of many forms of scrap is a refrain common to many parts of the world, according to feedback collated in the latest Mirror publication from the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division.

From Japan, for example, it is reported that demand for copper scrap is low but that generation is even lower, thus maintaining prices at a high level. Competition is also heating up among domestic collectors of aluminium scrap, not least because electricity companies are tending to postpone the replacement of power cables.

From Australia and New Zealand, merchants are indicating that a slowing construction sector and both governments’ focus on reducing inflation are impacting infeed volumes owing to the ripple effect of lower consumer spending. And recyclers in Canada are also experiencing a lower influx of metal as manufacturing slows, with the PMI sliding from an expansionary 52.4 in May to 48.8 in July.

As for Europe, the recycling industry in Germany estimates that available volumes have fallen by as much as 50% when compared to the norm, including a sharp drop-off in demolition scrap tonnages as a result of significantly lower new-build activity. Many yards in Scandinavia are said to have experienced a similarly steep fall in inflows as well as high spot prices for some items such as aluminium rims, copper cable and motors.

In terms of legislative developments, South Africa has extended its ban on exports of copper, brass, gunmetal and ferrous scrap until the end of 2023 while China has implemented stricter inspection measures covering shipments of scrap from Malaysia, with the focus on preventing exports of inferior or counterfeit materials. Malaysia has recently introduced a proposal to enforce a 10% tariff on exports of all scrap metal categories except for aluminium ingots and silicon sheets.

In Sweden, meanwhile, the environmental authorities are now classifying ordinary mixed cable scrap as hazardous waste if it cannot be proved the plastic is harm-free. On a more positive regulatory note, the Czech Republic’s environment minister has invited EU member states to explore the possibility of introducing lower VAT rates on products with recycled content.

As for international movements of recycled material, strikes at around 30 maritime hubs in British Columbia on Canada’s West Coast served to crippled cargo movements for two weeks in July, including shipments via the key Port of Vancouver. While the dispute has now been resolved, the congestion caused by the strike is expected to take some considerable time to clear.

Meanwhile, more non-ferrous scrap is expected to head towards Pakistan following an agreement reached between its government and the International Monetary Fund over the country’s foreign reserves deficit. Import restrictions have already started to loosen up, it is reported.

For exporters out of Mexico, however, concern is beginning to grow over the strength of the peso, which has reached a seven-year high against the US dollar.

 Read all international market reports

With contributions from its members, BIR publishes periodical commodity reports under the label "BIR World Mirror". These detailed reports exist for Non-Ferrous MetalsFerrousStainless Steel / AlloysPaperPlastics and Latin America and provide BIR members with up-to-date information on the respective commodity or market segment.

The report on Non-Ferrous Metals appears once every two months, whereas Ferrous, Stainless Steel, Paper and Plastics are published quarterly. Latin America is covered twice per year.