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Indian markets boosted by domestic green strategy

Scrap dealers in India have been boosted by commitments in the government’s latest budget for ‘green’ measures and an apparent desire to prioritise critical raw materials, according to a leading industry expert.

As a result, says Dhawal Shah of Metco Metals, the zero customs duty on all steel scraps has been extended by another year. Shah is also president of the non-ferrous division of BIR and notes in the global recycling organisation’s latest Mirror that primary producers of aluminium and copper in India had sought increased import duties on metal scrap.

‘This has found no grounds and instead the status quo has prevailed,’ writes Shah. ‘Somehow, I take this as vindication of our industry and of its objectives. A robust scrap recycling ecosystem is in the interests of every country wishing to mitigate the risks of carbonisation and climate change.’

In observations on global trade, he argues that global inflation and not Covid is now ‘the world’s nemesis’ creating turmoil across continents. ‘Boom-and-bust cycles are witnessed in unprecedented short periods. This possibly indicates that dealing with hyper-volatility is going to be a highly integral part of business in times to come.’

Also writing in the Mirror, China recycling expert Ma Hongchang reviews scrap and recycled copper, noting that Chinese imports grew significantly in 2021. For the January-October period, imported volumes are thought to have increased by 0.52 million tonnes, or 86%.

For China in 2022, it is estimated that 2.55 million tonnes of copper scrap will be recovered and that, with imports, domestic supply will be 3.75 million tonnes.

Board member Darrell Wong of Liberty Iron & Metal reports that South-East Asia looks poised to continue its recovery this year with exports racing ahead.

Malaysian exports jumped 32% on the year in December 2021 with trade data showing strong growth in electrical and electronic products, which make up nearly 40% of the total. Singapore’s exports rose 24.2% in the third quarter of 2021, the largest gain in around a decade.

‘The Asian Development Bank forecasts a 5.1% rise in gross domestic product for South-East Asia in 2022,’ Wong notes. ‘That would represent a significant increase from the 3% estimate for 2021 when the pandemic shut down many factories in Malaysia and Vietnam during the summer, which crippled the global supply chain.’

Fellow board member Rick Dobkin of Shapiro Metals reports that metal markets in the US continue to be volatile with aluminium and nickel rising and falling rapidly.

‘The commodity markets are responding to the current uncertainty around Russia’s intentions in Ukraine, supply chain issues and ongoing inflationary pressures around the world,’ he says. ‘At the time of my December 2021 report, US primary and secondary aluminium prices were at parity; now the primary price is nearly 20% higher than that for high-volume secondary 380 ingot as most secondary alloy prices have not moved much in recent months.’

Dobkin concludes: ‘Although export demand is good and metal is readily available, logistics challenges are continuing to cause difficulties. Drayage trucking represents the latest bottleneck as truckers are turning away from export-related freight to more lucrative domestic movements.’

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