2017 Mid-Year Review and Recycling Market Outlook


The InStream team is happy to help our wonderful customers with any and all of their waste stream management and recycling needs! 2017 has been a great year so far for us here, and we look forward to continuing our service to so many great customers and with our wonderful service partners.

The overall recycling market has endured a hectic first half of ’17. Ferrous scrap metal, the most closely watched sector of the recycling market, has been relatively schizophrenic. Nonferrous metal and recovered paper have been more stable, but both markets have seen their share of volatility across the year’s first half.

The ferrous market has witnessed ups and owns in ’17, and currently displays market pricing that is the weakest of the entire calendar year. The seesawing ferrous tags have left observers puzzled: January pricing was up, February back down, March up, April down, May was sideways before a slight drop in June.

Market participants struggle to see which direction the ferrous market is headed in the long-term. The unexpected spikes and dips of this year have made even the normally chatty traders reticent to predict beyond more than a month ahead.

The nonferrous scrap market has shown more stability, albeit with the normal ebbs and tides of pricing variance. Copper pricing has traded in a rather narrow band in ’17. Scrap copper gained strength across the year’s first three months before stagnating a bit in Q2.

Like copper, aluminum scrap grades also gained some pricing strength in Q1. Unlike copper scrap, however, aluminum continued its ascension into Q2 before weakening slightly in the past six weeks.

Copper scrap has displayed overall price stability since the final months of 2016. Aluminum has shown stability for an even longer period. The outlook for both nonferrous categories remains solid, with most analysts predicting a continued period of steady pricing.

The recovered paper market has shown strength in ’17 thus far. Prices for OCC cardboard (old corrugated containers) and for SOP (sorted office paper) inched upwards throughout Q1 and settled in March at historically high levels. Though the pricing has slipped a bit since, the overall health of the market remains strong. Current consumer habits, including a spike in internet shopping, should keep the market for recovered paper in good shape.

Disclaimer – Prices and market related information shown has been obtained by many sources across many commodity markets.  InStream has not verified the information beyond our sources. Information is based on assumptions and projections based on current market drivers. This information is provided as a service and InStream is not recommending action based on the market information provided and is not responsible for the direction of markets and/or results based on the data provided.


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