The influence of the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 infections is starting to show but countries, markets and people have learned lessons from earlier this year and are now better prepared. Governments can react quickly in imposing stricter safety regulations when needed: Ukraine, for example, has shut its borders for incoming travellers for another month; and many companies are asking their employees to work from home again.
Partly thanks to higher LME levels, there was an improvement in scrap generation during July and August, although this still failed to match the pace of demand. However, generation is now being disrupted - with several scrap yards in Romania and Slovakia reporting less street collection in recent weeks, resulting in higher market prices.
Despite Poland facing its first recession since the 1990s and unemployment approaching 10%, there are some positive signs from the aluminium industry: producer Alumetal has reported that, with the growing demand in the automotive sector, there is a good chance that its production will recover to 2019 levels in the fourth quarter.
Russia is showing strong demand for aluminium, with Tense being the hot property of late. AK5M2 secondary ingot exports were higher during the later summer months and prices increased considerably. On the copper side, major smelters are well supplied with scrap for the third quarter and are close to covering their demand for the final three months of the year.
TRM Group (BLR), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division