Initially planned to last until May 31, Russia’s national lockdown was waived on May 12 and regions have the authority to choose their own restrictions depending on the local situation, which varies massively in Moscow and Yakutia. At the time of writing, over 10,000 new cases are being reported daily and the easing of quarantine measures might seem premature given the significant chance of even higher infection rates shortly.
The Russian metals industry is experiencing a significant lack of scrap in the non-ferrous sector, especially copper units. Even though most foundries have been allowed to keep their operations running during the lockdown and the biggest players have secured decent raw material stocks, scrap availability is down by as much as 70% because of the drastic reduction in post-production scrap generation and the almost total disappearance of street collections during one and a half months of lockdown.
With Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic beginning a careful easing of quarantine measures on May 11, scrap collection is slowly recovering and allowing yards to build supply. Foundries are reporting a decline in demand for the automotive components on which the Polish, Czech and Hungarian metals industries mainly rely. The performance of their economies and their metal sectors will depend largely on Germany, Italy and France, with business support policies having been introduced.
The good news is that freight rates from Polish, Baltic and Russian ports are finally back to early-January numbers.
TRM Group (BLR), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division