This is a time of great tension for domestic non-ferrous metals operators: activity levels are slowing and the strain on prices and quality has reached levels not seen for many years. Plants are full of material. Never has there been such a great need for flexibility in interpreting the signals coming from the market in order to overcome this difficult period.
In recent months, only pain has come from copper and aluminium. Some joy has been seen from nickel but, after a temporary bout of enthusiasm, the market has not continued to really adapt to LME prices.
Non-ferrous metal smelters are showing no signs of recovery after several months of decline. Only steel smelters are in a position that could indicate positive signs of recovery.
The smelting sector, the backbone of Italian manufacturing, has been suffering from the slowdown across all the main client sectors and experienced by smelters in all the leading European countries. The scenario is complicated by the decline in order visibility; continuous stress on purchases is the natural consequence.
The political situation in Italy certainly does not support growth as evidenced by the fact that the seasonally adjusted industrial production index decreased in July by 0.7% when compared to June, while the May-July average was 0.3% down on the previous three months.
Industrial production fell for the second consecutive month, with all the main sectors of activity showing reductions.
The economic and political situation really requires more effective measures to boost growth. New public investment needs to be promoted both in the environment and in digital.
LCD Trading S.R.L (ITA), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division