Non-ferrous metal recyclers not well understood

BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division President Robert Stein of Alter Trading, USA, complained about nations creating false internal markets.

“Margins for the scrap that merchants are handling through their processing yards continue to be compressed,” the latest meeting of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division was told by Stein. “Prices being paid don’t allow the merchants to replace what they sell at acceptable margins.”

The “incredible” business years earlier in the millennium “are becoming too much of a distant memory” and many experts now contend that “scrap arisings may never reach those levels again, regardless of where prices may trend”, he said at the BIR meeting in Miami.

At the same time, and despite the importance of non-ferrous scrap to the world’s infrastructure, “our industry is not well understood” and legislation “is often biased against it”, Mr Stein argued. For instance, there are “more than 40 nations who, in some way, create false internal markets by reducing their consumer fabricators’ prices of feedstock by banning or impeding exports (of scrap)”. In many cases, he added, “this amounts to nothing less than subsidising prices of finished goods because of fictitious domestic scrap markets”.

Mr Stein underlined BIR’s belief in free and fair trade as “the proven best economic system known to create responsible growth in industrialising nations”. The world recycling organisation therefore continues its monitoring efforts to ensure regulations are “conducive and encouraging, and not discouraging, to the movement of scrap to the consuming sectors in these countries”.


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