Uruguay is a relatively small country, with only 3 million people, and is mainly export-orientated. Despite the fact that COVID-19 seems largely under control domestically, with an average of three new infections per day over recent weeks and 71 active cases as of July 8, the virus has left its mark and has generated many problems.
While companies are resuming operations and people are tending to return to their normal activities, everything seems to be recovering very slowly. Public-owned companies, the biggest in the country, are implementing a system of rotating shifts in order to avoid an agglomeration of personnel. However, this way of working means that scrap generation is very poor at present.
Meanwhile, the economic struggles of neighbours Argentina and Brazil have led to major private companies either performing poorly or remaining closed, thus also affecting scrap generation.
Smuggling of metals into Brazil, with which Uruguay shares a long border, is hurting established companies as this reduces not only the amount of material available but also margins because of the increased financial outlay required to obtain the remaining volumes.
Werba SA (URY), Board Member of the BIR Latin America Committee