Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

UK’s copper and aluminium scrap exports plunged by 53pc and 16pc, respectively, in May from the prior-year period amid major global demand disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Exports of non-ferrous scrap were primarily redirected within Europe as logistics, labor and a drop in demand from Asian countries made it difficult to ship scrap. In the UK, scrap generation was also affected by the pandemic. Copper scrap exports declined by half in May to 16,489mt from the prior-year period on drop in demand from Asian countries like India and Bangladesh where operations were fully shut along with China’s scrap import quota restrictions, which significantly reduced inflow. Bangladesh was the top importer of copper scrap from the UK in May.


Aluminium scrap exports from the UK saw a lower drop of 16pc, primarily due to weak demand from India, which imported 1,798mt in May, down from 13,030mt in the prior-year period. Exports of aluminium scrap to China halved because of scrap import quotas. A majority of UK’s copper and aluminium scrap exports were redirected to Italy in May.


UK exports (mt)May-20May-19% change
Copper scrap16,48935,075-53%
Major importers   
Aluminium scrap32,27438,424-16%
Major importers   
South Korea2,1591,9789%

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