Even though case numbers have doubled in recent weeks from less than 10 per day to around 20, the Coronavirus is largely under control in Uruguay. Thus, it has been possible to resume commercial operations and other regular activities; schools and businesses are opening for longer hours, and industries that had closed down have now resumed intensive work schedules.
Recycling companies are working at some 70-80% of capacity as scrap generation has become more substantial, although there is still room for improvement.
With spring on the way and summer drawing closer, the authorities are working hard to prepare for a period that is of great importance for the economy. However, the outlook is not good as neighbours Brazil and Argentina are in a terrible position both economically and in relation to the pandemic. Therefore, it is not clear how many of them will be able to visit Uruguay to spend their holidays - and their money. However, many Europeans are still expected to make the journey south.
Once again, it should be mentioned that the smuggling of metals remains one of the biggest competitors for established recyclers. Such practices have intensified over the last month or so owing to metal shortages - especially copper - in Brazil. Local authority attempts to stop this appear to have been insufficient so far.
Werba SA (URY), Board Member of the BIR Latin America Committee