The surging price of copper was the focus of attention at a nonferrous metals roundtable, which was part of the online International Recycling Week event. However, panelists said behind the bullishness lie concerns including protectionism, supply constraints and shipping limitations, says an article published on recycling news website.
Views of TRM group
Natalia Zholud, a senior trader and head of business development at Belarus-based TRM Group, said the fundamentals underlying copper’s soaring price globally are legitimate. “I do think there is a significant base behind the recent copper rally,” she stated.
Pointing the Paris Accord, the European Union Green Deal and booming electric vehicle (EV) support around the world, Zholud added, “Maybe the copper market is not optimistic enough. There are so many fundamentals behind demand.”
Salam al Sharif, chairman of United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Sharif Metals Group, said the soaring demand tied to decarbonization efforts is clashing with the copper market’s fundamentals. “I’m not sure how sustainable that is,” he commented. “If you want to things to go green, there is a big cost. To generate it, distribute it and store it [requires] good old copper connectivity, and it is indispensable and [impractical] to use any other metal.”
London point of view
Susie Burrage, managing director of United Kingdom-based Recycled Products Ltd., said when copper prices soar too high, “a switch from copper to aluminum” can gain support among manufacturers. “I know the conductivity isn’t as good—I think around 62 percent—but it’s a lot lighter,” she said of aluminum in the electrical market. “So, there might be a bit of a switch [when] it’s about a quarter of the price.”
However, said Burrage, citing a recent forecast from metals producer Glencore that pegs global copper demand doubling to reach 60 million tons per year annually, “We’re definitely going to need [more copper] if governments follow through on their plans.” EVs alone contain four times as much copper on average as internal combustion engine vehicles, she remarked.
Getting copper scrap from point A to point B amidst a global container shipping network that has rankled the recycling sector is providing additional problems. In her region, said Zholud, “For some areas, getting a container can decide whether you do business or do not do business. It should not be that way. We, as business owners, have other issues, and containers should be the last thing that needs to be your daily headache.”
India concern on consolidated nature of the global container
Sanjay Mehta, a director of the India-based MTC Group, predicted “this cost will not go down.” He said the shipping lines have “got a taste” for the profits to be made in the current market. “We have to live with the situation,” he declared.
Mehta expressed concern about the consolidated nature of the global container shipping industry, comparing it with trying to find alternatives to Google in the search engine market. “I don’t think we have any kind of option in availability of containers or reduction in freight,” he stated, until or unless new players enter the sector, which will take several years, Mehta suggested.
Despite the woes, panelists were largely optimistic about the future of nonferrous scrap recycling and the state of the economy in the nations and regions represented.
- Surging price of copper was the focus of attention at a nonferrous metals roundtable.
- TRM Group, said the fundamentals underlying copper’s soaring price globally are legitimate.
- UAE based Sharif Metals Group, said the soaring demand tied to decarbonization efforts is clashing with the copper market’s fundamentals.
- United Kingdom-based Recycled Products Ltd., said when copper prices soar too high, a switch from copper to aluminum can gain support among manufacturers.
- India-based MTC Group, predicted this cost will not go down. He said the shipping lines have got a taste for the profits to be made in the current market. We have to live with the situation.
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Source: recycling today