Recycling Market Snapshot: Second Quarter 2014

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The recycling industry continues to grow across the globe and  has exploded here in our home state of South Carolina. A recent report found that the industry has an annual total economic impact of $13 billion in South Carolina, more than double the impact of just eight years ago.

The report – 2014 Recycling Industry Economic Impact Study – was commissioned through the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, New Carolina and RecyclonomicsSC. The study also found that 22,403 jobs in this state are directly attributable to the recycling industry.

It’s an exciting time to be in the world of recycling and we thank all of our clients, vendors, friends and associates for continuing to grow the industry.

The recycling market underwent a largely disappointing second quarter with metal prices mostly slipping while paperboard fared only slightly better.

The ferrous metal market displayed strength at the start of the quarter in April (jumping up $5-$10 per gross ton) before losing ground over the next two months. No. 1 HMS pricing fell around $10 in both May and June.

June’s tags were the lowest to date in 2014 for all major categories of scrap ferrous material.

Aluminum scrap fared far better over the past three months. Major categories like Mixed Low Copper Clips and Old Sheet held relatively steady with regards to pricing throughout the quarter, losing a penny here and gaining a penny there, but settling in the same narrow band.

Copper scrap was slightly more volatile. Though some grades like yellow brass have displayed pricing stability, other grades like Bare Bright have witnessed more drastic swings.

No. 1 Bare Bright jumped almost $0.10 per pound between the middle of March and the start of April, held steady for about five weeks and then jumped up an additional $0.13 in the middle of May. Price erosion erased those gains quickly before another uptick in late June.

Pricing for paper waste has been trending downward over the past three months.

OCC (old corrugated containers) prices in the Southeast dropped $15 per ton in April before another decrease of $5 in May. Pricing held steady in June. Pricing trends for OCC was similar in all other domestic regions.

SOP (sorted office paper) has enjoyed relative stability. Pricing for April-June has remained unchanged.

 

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: First Quarter 2014

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The recycling market has witnessed an eventful first quarter in 2014. Many producers of ferrous scrap material have felt the effects of the AMM pricing report changes and of a largely weak scrap metal market. Nonferrous scrap has seen both the good and bad. Copper scrap continues along in a prolonged period of stagnation while aluminum scrap has enjoyed pricing strength thus far in ’14 and has significantly outperformed the other scrap categories.

Paper recycling has brought much better news thus far in 2014 with monthly price increases becoming the norm.

Ferrous scrap has struggled across the first three months of ’14. Prices for most major grades jumped a bit from December ’13 to January, but have now suffered two straight months of price decreases. Tags for many of the most prominent categories fell an average of $15-$20 per gross ton in March.

Most analysts point to continued disinterest from Chinese buyers and a new reluctance from Turkish buyers as factors pushing the tags downward.Material from Canada has also flooded the domestic market further depressing prices.

Though new housing construction was a bright spot as 2013 progressed, the ferrous scrap market needs commercial construction to rebound significantly. Advances in the energy sector, specifically with regards to fracking, could lead to strength for scrap ferrous material. Most machinery tied to the industry requires steel.

One common theme in the recent past has been the overabundance of scrap shredders. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for these operations to be profitable. A ballooning amount of shredders, all of which require significant feedstock to remain economically feasible, does not make much sense in a world with a finite amount of available material.

Copper scrap has struggled in 2014, with pricing drops far more common than the infrequent upticks. March has been especially rough for the red metal scrap, with tags about $0.20 per pound lower than they were in February and with primary copper prices reaching lows not seen since 2010.

Though January was a strong month for copper scrap tags, it was followed by two straight months of diminishing returns. Copper seems to be stuck in a rut and only increased demand from China can get it back on track (estimates say China accounts for approximately 40% of global copper consumption). Copper could also benefit from investment in several industries: power generation and transmission, high-speed rail and home construction.

March scrap tags were especially depressed by news that two major Chinese buyers had reneged on orders from US sellers. This coupled with geopolitical concerns regarding the situation in Ukraine furthered the pricing weakness.

Though scarcity of copper scrap has kept prices from complete free fall, Chinese demand must not deteriorate further if market participants hope to see pricing increases going forward.

Pricing for aluminum scrap has been on a consistent upward trend in ’14, with slow but steady growth. Tags have averaged about a $0.01 per week increase over the year’s first three months.

Increased demand continues to strengthen aluminum scrap. The transportation/automotive and aerospace industries are largely the engines of this growth. Though ’13 witnessed unprecedented demand for aluminum from the automotive sector, ’14 could actually be even better for scrap due to Ford’s announced substitution of aluminum for steel in auto body sheet.

Pricing for recycled paper products has been especially positive in 2014. OCC (old corrugated containers) dropped an average of $5 per gross ton across the domestic regions in January before stabilizing in February. March witnessed an incredible average increase of $25, the largest monthly price increase in the last two years.

Though SOP (sorted office paper) did not enjoy such a drastic increase as OCC in March, it’s pricing did increase for the third straight month and settled an average of $5 higher.

Market participants have mentioned that extreme winter weather has left paper mills with a scarcity of material which has underpinned pricing.

One other bit of good news is that manufacturing activity continues to moderately increase. Though the wintry conditions were responsible for utility outages, decreased production schedules and led to supply chain disruptions, we continue to see our customers producing more and more product. We’re glad to be along for the ride!!!

 

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: October 2013

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October was a relatively quiet month in the recycling market with plenty of the commodities selling at similar price points to those of September.

Ferrous scrap actually outperformed some of the early predictions being expressed in late September as some categories like HMS (heavy melt steel) held steady across all domestic regions.  Busheling and several other classifications witnessed slight losses, however, usually around $5 per gross ton.

Market participants expect higher tags in November and are  predicting $20-30 increases.

Copper scrap enjoyed a healthy October and most scrap grades sat around $0.10 per pound higher month-on-month. The strength may be short-lived due to increasing pressure on primary copper resulting from an overabundance of supply.

Pricing for aluminum scrap could not replicate the strong performance of the copper market. Though many aluminum scrap classifications were trading at similar levels to September, some grades saw small dips of a penny or two per pound. Market experts point to light purchasing dynamics as the main reason behind the minimal weakness.

The recycled paper market displayed stability in October. Pricing for both OCC (old corrugated containers) and SOP (sorted office paper) remained unchanged from September’s levels across all the domestic regions.

 

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: April 2013

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The recycling market underwent a volatile month in April with scrap metal pricing dropping while recovered paper pricing held steady from March levels.

Ferrous scrap tags dropped starkly in April, with most major grades losing approximately $15-$20 per gross ton in all domestic regions. The weakening market was tied to a scarcity of demand from mills and to the growing apprehension concerning the global economy. Events in Boston and Texas have further threatened the already shaky economic atmosphere.

Nonferrous scrap performed poorly, as well, with most major copper scrap grades losing around $0.10 per pound. Aluminum scrap enjoyed a better month but only in relation to its red cousin. Most aluminum scrap grades dropped between $0.01-$0.02 per pound.

Market experts continue to list the usual suspects as the reasons behind the pricing weakness: uncertainty tied to Chinese orders and tepid domestic demand.

The recovered paper market was the star of the recycling show in April simply by avoiding losses. Both OCC (old corrugated containers) and SOP (sorted office paper) kept March’s gains and displayed no change in pricing.

 

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: December 2012 and Year in Review

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2012 is now in the books and here at InStream we are so grateful for our wonderful customers and vendor partners! Here’s to another great year of  green savings and increased revenue!

December was a relatively quiet month for ferrous scrap. Major grades traded at November levels, a slight disappointment on the heels of price increase projections. Market experts expect prices to follow historical trends and rise in January though they warn the increases may be modest. Look for further strengthening in February before the uncertainty of Spring begins a new period of volatility.

Ferrous scrap underwent a tumultuous year and tags finish 2012 at much lower levels than at the conclusion of 2011. Heavy Melt Scrap prices on average dropped $50 per gross ton over the course of the year. Pricing for shredded auto scrap was down $60/GT. Busheling was the unluckiest grade, losing approximately $110/GT over the course of 2012.

Copper scrap pricing ticked upward slightly in December, with increases between $0.01 and $0.05 per pound. Scrap pricing for the red metal finished approximately 4% higher than last year.

Aluminum scrap did not gain as much momentum and remained relatively unchanged from November’s prices as most grades rose $0.01/lb. Aluminum echoed copper by posting an overall increase in pricing of approximately 4% across the entirety of 2012.

Recycled cardboard (OCC) pricing surged $15 per ton in December due to increased demand from paper mills and limited supply. The latest hike pushed OCC prices in the Southeast back to the same levels as 2011’s year end. Cardboard tags jumped in the Spring before a swoon in late summer sent pricing into the red for the year. A late Autumn rally restored order.

Pricing for sorted office paper (SOP) dropped slightly ($5/ton) in December but finished 2012 approximately $10/ton higher than when the year began.

 

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.

Plastic film recycling is getting some official attention

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from rusticgirls.com

Plastic film, though often associated with plastic grocery bags, is a pervasive waste stream that affects many manufacturing companies across a spectrum of industries. Though light weight, plastic film is usually something used (and thus discarded) in bulk. The American Chemistry Council recognizes this particular waste stream as a hot topic going forward and has created a group that will attempt to increase the recycling opportunities of plastic film. Read the Recycling Today article below for more information on this development.

http://www.recyclingtoday.com/acc-launches-group-target-plastic-film-recycling.aspx?List_id=14