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

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) issued an update on the global status of the recycling industry and the effect a potential second wave of the pandemic could have on it. 


According to BIR ambassadors, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Europe has kept the governments of that region on the edge. Although scrap collection volumes in France were high during the initial lockdown with increasing price levels, the country is now facing a shortage of material, which is impacting its automotive and aerospace sector. 


Germany also witnessed a 16pc drop in orders at its mechanical engineering sectors in the January-July period while the country’s production volumes fell 14pc. Its new car registration also fell by 533,000 cars in May. The UK is also witnessing lower volumes in the recycling sector as the COVID-19 cases in the country are doubling leading to stricter restrictions for businesses. 


In Asia, BIR noted that copper demand in China is soft despite a robust futures market. Recycling activity levels in HongKong slumped and disrupted the material supply chain. However, with the restrictions now easing, this market is expected to pick up by Q4 2020. 


India’s secondary metal prices rose 5-12pc in August and early September after a drop in market demand as the country tackled the rising COVID-19 cases. According to BIR, The Indian government has rolled out many incentive schemes to kick-start the economy and get foreign investments. 


India’s “end of life” vehicle policy could be rolled out soon and will interest the secondary metal market suppliers as demand for recycled steel and aluminum would rise. The country’s focus on building highways, railways, bridges, and smart cities is also projected to increase demand for the secondary metal market as well as the ferrous and non-ferrous sectors. 


The Middle East metal recycling industry suffered a decline in demand after oil prices fell and led to a halt in the construction investment programs. The UAE’s scrap industry is still witnessing supply tightness, BIR indicated, despite the easing in lockdown measures. The four-month ban on metal exports from the UAE government in May has been further extended for another four months to keep the domestic operations up and running. Moreover, the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel could improve demand, benefit various industries, and bring in more foreign investments BIR said. 


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