In for a rough ride

2015 was not a good year for the non-ferrous metals industry. This fact was the topic of discussion on several occasions, especially at the BIR conference in Prague last autumn. The question constantly asked was: How low can it get? Many suspect that 2016 could bring a new definition of low.

Mogens Bach Christensen of H.J. Hansen suspects that non-ferrous markets in the Nordic countries may still be on vacation, as low prices led to weak business in the first weeks of the year. However, the situation looks quite different from one country to the next. As Hansen points out, the Danish GDP declined in the last quarter of 2015 for the first time in two years, although this fact does not seem to have had a negative impact on the Danish economy. Sweden seems to be doing quite well and expects GDP growth for the next two years. On the other hand, Norway has still has not yet recovered, as the country is extremely dependent on the oil price. The Finnish economy has halted its economic decline, but still shows no signs of growth.

On the German market, Murat Bayram of European Metal Recycling Limited speaks of overcapacities at operational yards due to a 40-per-cent decline in scrap availability. Bayram assumes that this will lead to more shutdowns and further consolidation in the industry within Germany and although the German economy is doing quite well, there is still a shortage of scrap, particularly of good quality material. Bayram also points out that „rating agencies and credit insurance companies are evaluating raw materials sectors in general as an extremely endangered business field“.


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