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For scrap traders 2018 is ‘really a crucial year’

2018 is ‘a very challenging year’ for the scrap industry, said BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division President David Chiao of the Uni-All Group in his opening remarks to the body’s latest meeting in Barcelona.

Political decisions are influencing trading dynamics ‘irreversibly’, stated divisional board member Leopoldo Clemente of Italy’s LCD Trading SRL. With many mixed metal processors moving operations from China to ASEAN and Indian Sub-Continent countries, the key question is the timing and extent to which these other nations follow China’s regulatory approach to imports. ‘2018 is really a crucial year,’ he insisted.

Domestic arisings

Michael Lion of China-based Everwell Resources Ltd,  chairman of BIR’s International Trade Council, drew a distinction between the political and regulatory dimensions to recent developments affecting Chinese imports: while the former is likely to be resolved at some point, regulatory issues in China are ‘not going to go away’, he stressed. China is looking to develop its domestic recycling industry more rapidly and domestic arisings are set to grow ‘exponentially’, he pointed out.

Remove hurdles

On the plus side of recent regulatory developments, the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals division’s senior vice president Dhawal Shah of Metco Marketing in India confirmed that the Indian government has relaxed its approach by exempting metallic waste and scrap (shredded and unshredded) coming from the USA, the EU, Canada, New Zealand and Australia from pre-shipment inspection certificate requirements, on condition that shipments are cleared through the ports of Chennai, Tuticorin, Kandla, JNPT, Mumbai or Krishnapatnam. This move is in line with the Indian government’s push to make business easier and ‘should bring down costs’, Shah told delegates.

The increased difficulties in shipping scrap to certain parts of the world have triggered recycling investments in many exporting countries. ‘Equipment sellers are very positive at the moment – some of them are booked out until mid-2019,’ noted divisional vice president Andy Wahl of US company TAV Holdings Inc.

New sorting methods

Josep Berdejo, purchasing director at La Farga metallurgical group in Spain foresees no near-term shortage of copper scrap in Europe but, in looking to the more distant future, he contended that boosting the urban mining of metals ‘will not be easy’ and that there was a need for new sorting methods and for ‘more investments in the recycling sector’.

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