Markets are slowly starting to regain their volumes; several scrap yards in Poland are reporting that their turnovers are almost back to January levels, and copper scrap consumers are seeing larger supply on the grounds of sales difficulties to China and India. However, the situation is still far from pre-pandemic levels.
Russia has officially reported that the peak of the pandemic has been passed and its economy is stepping on to the recovery track. But this is not likely to be easy: Russia’s central bank reports that domestic GDP in April to June was down 9.5% compared to the same period in 2019.
Lack of copper units has resulted in reduced exports - with local demand being covered first - and higher scrap prices.
The Russian government has implemented a support programme to stimulate new car sales, with the state subsidizing 10% of the car’s value (up to 25% in the Far East of the country). The secondary aluminium industry is still suffering the most, satisfying old contracts while spot demand is almost non-existent. Some aluminium smelters are reporting an increased share of deox alloys in their production portfolio as local steel manufacturers are offering a healthier demand than the automotive sector.
For the Russian market, much will depend on oil and gas prices. Another OPEC+ meeting is taking place at the time of writing, with discussions expected to cover output cuts and also avoiding the fiasco that befell the group last time. Meanwhile, the USA is threatening sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas project.
Travel possibilities are gradually opening up; at present, 25% of Aeroflot’s usual flights are running. From July 1, Russia has been allowing in-country tourism in 67 out of the total of 85 regions and also to several destinations abroad, keeping the borders open for travellers on condition of a negative COVID-19 test and/or a period of quarantine. The same applies to Ukraine and Belarus.
TRM Group (BLR), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division