Times are good for metals markets. Global prices for virgin nickel, tin, copper and aluminum started to rise about two years ago from long cyclical downturns. Precious metals have been on a tear in 2003, with gold mining shares in a confirmed bull market. With current North American economic conditions being interpreted as mixed but improving, the stage is set for further growth of metal scrap markets. As fundamental “building blocks” for most industrial and manufacturing processes, demand for both raw and scrap metal materials is closely linked to a growing and healthy economy.
But that’s only half the story. The other half comes from outside of North America where business confidence indices show that other countries (e.g., Europe and Japan) are also on the upswing. In particular, China as “factory to the world” leads the demand for some metals and is likely to have an increasingly significant impact on the global metals market in the years ahead.
This has already translated into higher prices for ferrous scrap. The combination of tight supply and stronger demand, both here and overseas, is adding pressure. Scrap prices at present are close to some of the highest levels seen, in many areas, in the past few years.
Aluminum scrap has seen some recent price increases, but they are slight in comparison to ferrous. Some believe this is because the level of raw material supplies has counterbalanced the rising demand. But China’s voracious appetite for metals and burgeoning growth as a net exporter of aluminum will undoubtedly place an increasing role in the aluminum market, both raw and scrap.
This is great news for scrap dealers and municipal programs that deal in aluminum and ferrous scrap.
Contact Damian Bassett at 416-594-3457, ext 3457 or visit www.csr.org (CSR Sheet located under “Publications”)