Important changes to Russian regulations were reported to the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Round-Table in Milan by Ildar Neverov of Moscow-based TeplotovResource. He explained to a packed auditorium that his government had reduced the export duty on secondary aluminium alloys from 10% to 3%, while the duty on nickel alloys had been removed altogether. In addition, all scrap operations were set to become VAT exempt from the start of next year although the impact of this measure was difficult to predict, he said.
In his review of the European non-ferrous scrap markets, Carmelo Paolucci of Trentavizi Srl in Italy noted that high LME copper prices had led to scrap price increases and a lack of prompt availability of raw material. Meanwhile, poor consumption of semi-finished products had led to sluggish demand from secondary aluminium smelters. European demand for lead and antimonial alloys had been stable while availability problems had kept prices at high levels, he added.
The two major hurricanes in the USA had helped to create an “extreme” short supply of trucks and other forms of transport, explained Robert Stein of Alter Trading. He expected a continuation of the support offered to the markets by hedge funds and, in the case of copper, by lack of material.
Delegates also heard that, in July-September 2005, the Chinese economy had achieved growth of more than 9% for the ninth consecutive quarter - despite government measures to curb this upward momentum. According to Ben Lee of China’s Alco Resources, his country’s demand for copper and brass scrap remained particularly strong while the stainless steel scrap market had been suffering the effects of overproduction.
In an innovative departure from the normal meeting structure, the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Round-Table in Milan also featured an open discussion moderated by Bob Garino, Director of Commodities at the US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. One of the panellists, Loretta Forelli from Italian scrap consumer Forelli Pietro SNC, said that Chinese demand for scrap had created huge supply problems for industrial users in both Europe and North America. “Vanishing scrap is the concern for us,” she underlined. “It is important that your clients survive.” Europe “lacks the tools” to fight against the long working hours and low labour costs assisting the competitiveness of Asian countries, she added.
Marc Natan of Malco SA in France, the President of BIR’s Non-Ferrous Metals Division, defended Europe’s scrap industry by insisting that its sales were not confined solely to the wider export markets. While voicing concern for the supply problems encountered by consumers, he also contended: “We have to purchase and we have to sell at realistic prices.”
Earlier, Eurometrec President Bjorn Grufman of MV Metallvarden AB in Sweden had told delegates: “We know that EU consumers do not like scrap exports because the materials escape EU recycling facilities, but we have to defend totally free trade as long as it is fair.”