2017 Mid-Year Review and Recycling Market Outlook

by

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.

Q1 Recycling Market Snapshot 2016

by

The recycling market suffered through some relatively dark days in the opening months of 2016, as ferrous scrap metal kept the overall recycling market tamped down. Much like the weather, the market is showing signs of heating up as we approach the warmer days of summer.

The ferrous market displayed gains in January and led many to believe that the lows of November would quickly be forgotten. Pricing did not increase substantially going forward, with the February market largely stagnant and March experiencing only minimal gains.

Good news has emerged in April, however, as ferrous pricing is up around $40-$50 per ton in many of the domestic regions, reaching heights unseen since the summer of 2015. Industry experts do not feel this trend will continue, however, and predict that ferrous prices will hold relatively steady in the short term.

The early part of 2016 has been kinder to the nonferrous scrap market, but copper and aluminum scrap are still trading at relatively low prices.

Copper pricing underwent a volatile January, steadied in February before strengthening in March. The fundamentals for the scrap market remain unconvincing so expectations of price increases are few and far between.

Aluminum scrap grades have remained almost static in 2016, with most categories gaining only a few cents per pound across the year’s first three months. Much like copper, many market experts expect aluminum scrap to remain relatively stagnant with regards to pricing.

Though pricing for recovered paper has largely remained unchanged across the year’s first few months, the overall health of this sector of the recycling market is very strong. Cardboard in particular should remain a staple of the recycling industry going forward as massive spikes in online shopping continue to create demand for recovered paper.

Plastic scrap continued its long period  of weakness in the first quarter of ’16  as oil prices descended to levels last seen in late 2003. Demand for plastic scrap remains healthy, however.

 

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.

Recycling Market Snapshot: Autumn 2015

by

It has been another busy year for us here at InStream thanks to all of our wonderful customers. To date we have recycled over 68 million pounds of material for our clients in 2015. We value working with such diligent customers who responsibly dispose of these materials, and we look forward to meeting all of our clients’ waste stream management needs in the future.

As we enter into the heart of Autumn it’s time to take a look at what has been a very strange period in the recycling market, particularly for scrap metal.

The ferrous market limped into Q4 on the heels of three straight months of decreasing prices. Market watchers were caught by surprise when that trend not only continued in October, but actually became even more drastic. Pricing for most major ferrous categories dropped between $50 and $60 per gross ton across the United States.

Though there are numerous factors behind this period of price deterioration, the most important are low commodity prices worldwide, the strong dollar and its effect on importation, China’s slowing economy and very low domestic steel production.

Sadly there is still no sign of recovery for scrap steel, and industry experts are expecting further price erosion in November of around $10-20 per ton. Until domestic steel production increases or cheap material from foreign suppliers dries up, demand for domestic steel scrap will remain low and pricing will continue to suffer.

Nonferrous metals have fared poor, as well. Copper scrap has been in a slow decline since the middle of the year and the fundamentals for the red metal offer little hope that price increases will emerge anytime soon. Even so, copper remains the surest bet in the scrap metal market.

Aluminum scrap has fared even worse than copper in 2015, with most major grades losing about $0.20 per pound since the year began. Prices are not expected to rise in the short term, either, with waning year-end demand further pressuring aluminum tags downward.

The recycled paper market has also been rather strange this year, with OCC (old corrugated containers) prices trending higher over the past six months while SOP (sorted office paper) prices trend downward. OCC pricing has remained constant since August, when pricing reached its highest level since one year earlier. This is astounding when compared to SOP which is currently fetching its lowest prices since December of 2013!

Plastic scrap pricing remains very low. The plastic market is largely tied to the price of oil which continues to dip lower due to increased production worldwide and lower demand from China. While this is good news for the consumer at the gas pump and purchasing agents buying packaging material, it does mean that plastic scrap has far less value than it did in the past.

 

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.

A nice primer on plastic categories

by

Do you ever wonder what those little numbers on the bottom of plastic containers mean? Those numbers refer to the containers’ plastic type.

The good people over at thedailygreen.com have a nice, concise summary of the various types of plastic. Plastics continue to be a great frontier for the recycling industry with alternative uses and better solutions emerging every day.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/recycling-symbols-plastics-460321