The Metal Recycling Market Jabbed but not Unscrapped

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Image about scrap metal

Image by Hermés at Flickr

I assume neighborhood signs, like the one in this picture, can be found worldwide. In any economic climate, things break down”especially metal. From 20042008, high demand and prices for discarded metal fed a wave of scrap metal theft: from stealing sewer covers and farm equipment to ripping out copper wiring in vacant homes. The Chinese economy was a significant scrap-metal contributor. Accounting for 45% of the scrap metal market in 2008, China had a voracious need to convert scrap metal into steel for construction. But a recent slump in the rate of construction sector growth naturally decreased the demand.

At the Bureau of International Recycling annual convention (October 2009), held in Amsterdam, speakers projected that the start of 2010 would reconcile the nosedive in ferrous scrap metal prices worldwide, as levels of new steel production remain low. Speaking at the event’s Ferrous Round Table session, Sims Metal Management’s Blake Kelley said, “Lower volume makes it very difficult for scrap processors and steel producers to effectively amortize their costs. The direction for non-ferrous metals differed in outlook. US firm Alter Trading’s Robert Stein offered this projection: “As restocking of finished non-ferrous products take place, as the automotive industries around the world improve, as delayed construction projects are rejuvenated and people go back to their jobs, I think we can look forward to more sustainable improvement in our businesses.

The global recession has negatively affected the metal recycling market but prices keep fluctuating. The industry’s specialists maintain their watch-and-wait position; cautious but optimistic, as economies gradually regain their footing with stimulus and bailout programs in progress.

Nate Burgos

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