A pick-up in the second quarter has continued the base metal gains witnessed in the opening quarter of 2019. Copper led the upward movement of metals trading on the LME to reach highs of US$ 6500 per tonne following optimism surrounding trade deal talks between the US and Chinese governments. Other metals have performed strongly, with aluminium posting an increase of 3.6% during the first three months and continuing at a steady level during April. The trade dispute has hurt global economic growth during the last year, with the uncertainty preoccupying markets and investors.
Non-ferrous scrap metals have been enjoying fairly steady supply since the beginning of the year, which was met with demand from major buyers of the Middle East’s material. But this has not been the case since the start of the second quarter, with major markets like India and the Far East slowing down. India’s ongoing general elections have negatively affected demand from its buyers. Meanwhile, there is still a lack of clarity concerning policy and instructions ahead of the July 1 changes introduced by the Chinese government on imports of non-ferrous scrap metals, thus slowing demand for Chinese and some Far East traders.
In the Middle East, the early months of the year have represented a busy period, with a strong LME assisting a steady supply of scrap metals. However, a slowdown may be seen over the coming weeks with the starting of the Holy Month of Ramadan. During the celebrations, there will be shorter working hours, especially for scrap yards in the GCC region where the summer season has already arrived.
Aboura Metals (ARE), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division