Local non-ferrous metal recycling activity is slowing under the influence of the wider economic downtrend caused by the US/China trade war. The strong yen has also had an impact.
For copper, consumption by rolling mills, foundries and smelters remains low, mainly as a result of reduced demand for IT devices and a lower LME value. Compared to June this year, scrap exports decreased by 25% in July - mostly due to the sharp cutback in orders from China immediately after the import quota took effect.
In general, domestic aluminium scrap demand/supply has been balanced by mills’ low consumption as well as low scrap generation. The local market is largely supported by exports to South Korea but governmental frictions have started disturbing smooth imports into that country. Customs clearance is said to be taking much longer for a large number of ocean containers.
The LME nickel price hike triggered by Indonesia’s ore export regulation is pushing up local scrap prices but without strengthening demand. Meanwhile, the Hikari works of Nippon Steel Stainless and the Shunan works have been put under the same control - a move which has already impacted the non-304 scrap market, especially complex nickel scrap and residual scrap which have started being shipped into the overseas market.
Metal Solution Provider (JPN), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division