A new year begins and recently-inaugurated US President Joe Biden has started the process of bringing his nation back into the Paris Agreement on climate change, sending a positive signal to the world that sustainability is back on the US agenda.
According to official figures, Germany’s economy shrank by only 5% last year. This is much better than expected despite the pandemic causing the deepest recession since the 2008 financial crisis. German car sales rose 9.9% in December and the machinery industry reports full order books again.
Copper prices started the year positively, with the LME above the important US$ 8000 per tonne threshold. Meanwhile, Europe’s large copper smelters are reporting that their order books are full. The uncertainty surrounding China did lead some German exporters to reallocate containers which were on the way to Far East; that was causing a short-term oversupply on the refining grades market and led to higher discounts. High-quality copper scrap remains generally tight.
On the aluminium front, 226 ingot prices made a small correction after a half-year record rally. The above-mentioned German car sales and the positive vehicle production outlook for the first quarter of 2021 are supporting the light metal industry. The increasing awareness that every tonne of scrap means lower CO2 emissions is pushing car producers to ensure that their aluminium products come from sustainable sources. Audi AG, for example, is the first car manufacturer to be awarded a Chain of Custody certificate under the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative which certifies that the level of sustainability is completely maintained - not only for the components of car-making but also for the process scrap from Audi press plants that is retained in the loop.
So there is good news out there if you search for it.
European Metal Recycling Limited (GBR), Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division