The number of COVID-19 cases in this region is rising again. Parallel to this, Belgium is still challenged by political woes while the country is trying to create a new government. None of this is supportive of working around the uncertainties afflicting society which are pushing people more into delay and reuse mode rather than replacing and scrapping materials.
European exporters are preferring to keep materials locally, while exporters around the world are currently charmed by the level of certainty provided by the European markets and are looking for opportunities over here. Industrial activity is still not back at pre-Coronavirus levels but a significant improvement has been made over the last couple of months, with industry in general returning to around 70% of capacity.
Demand for the various grades is out there but nothing spectacular to speak of. On the copper side, most consumers used the pre-summer momentum to restock or buy strategically, but with demand for product a tad softer, buying of copper units remains in the hands of the consumer.
For aluminium, there has been a small improvement in the automotive sector but generally it is a case of same old, same old. On stainless, prices remain low but a supplier can get delivery appointments. With fewer players around in the local zinc markets, business is rather slow from a supplier point of view.
The part of our business which is still lagging behind and struggling the most in the current climate is electronics recycling as collection points seem to be having a hard time finding the normal level of units. Given the current rule requiring an appointment to visit a collection centre, many households are putting their electronics temporarily in a basement or attic.
In general, there is activity in the yards but people are not breaking sweat over it.
Metallo Belgium N.V., Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division