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Ceiling could have fallen in on non-ferrous market- COMMENT UPDATE

After a long period of huge price increases, the ceiling could finally have fallen in on the non-ferrous market.

While for the past few months, incredibly high prices have been gained for all types of copper, brass and aluminium, trading has virtually ceased following events which one highly experienced industry analyst described as “unprecedented”.

Nervousness had been created in the market with prices falling on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and then a number of major players lowering their prices in accordance. This is said to have fuelled a trend with other companies following “like a pack of cards”.

Major traders from India and China have now dropped out of the market because of the low levels, with types of copper such as Dry Bright Wire being quoted by some companies as low as £2,500/tonne, while last week it was trading at around £3,305/tonne on the LME.

The analyst said: “While the market has come down a lot, everyone seems to be hiding. When you do get hold of people, they are either not quoting prices or offer extremely low prices that are no good.

“The number of people saying ‘no bid’ in the past week is unprecedented. Nobody has even said that this is the bottom, prices could go still lower, while trying to get new sales is proving virtually impossible.”

It is thought that if the market stabilises and goes back up by between £100 and £300/tonne, the Chinese and Indians could re-enter, but the current deflated state of play was illustrated with the usually stable aluminium UBC prices all dropping by £50/tonne.

The levels offered by Novelis have shown virtually constant growth since December 2003, rising from around £750/tonne for baled, loose and whole cans and peaking at £1000/tonne earlier this year before dropping to £950/tonne in the last week.

Commenting on these decreases, Novelis recycling national manager Andy Doran said: “The drops reflect us following a market trend. Obviously, we are keen to continue supplies and be strong in the market, but we are operating in a global market place and must follow the trends of it.

“On the plus side, we are still paying £1000/tonne for baled or densified, palletised and strapped cans and there is no change in foil prices.”

However, with many traders currently standing off and analysts admitting they are uncertain how far prices will actually drop, the non-ferrous market’s time in the sun could be coming to an end.


19/06/2006: I appreciate your thoughts they are too early as LME prices are not considered. LME trading is the base taken for International / global trading and is still very high and shall drop in succession say by US$100/tonne until 30/06/2006 with some jolts in between to me copper averaging 15th July 06 shall be US$6500/tonne or even less.

Posted by Amit

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