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Global news - 27 July 2012

News from around the world - markets, business and policy


Steel stagnates across Europe

International credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings says steel demand will remain depressed across Europe in the second half of 2012. Fitch expects steel prices to register a limited increase for the remainder of 2012, while it anticipates that iron prices will remain at roughly at current levels, given the consistent demand in China. Non-integrated steel producers will be particularly affected by high raw material costs and lower steel prices for the remainder of 2012. Fitch forecasts high raw material input prices, notably iron ore and coking coal, to exacerbate margin erosion in 2012
Scrap Monster, 17 July

‘New for old’ phone scheme launched

Redeem has extended its mobile phone resales and recycling partnership with O2 by introducing the first ‘new for old’ mobile phone recycling initiative in Slovakia. Under the value recycling scheme, O2 customers can trade in their old mobiles in exchange for store credit in the form of an electronic voucher, which can be spent at any O2 store in Slovakia. The credit voucher is valid for three months and may be combined with other special offers and discounts. Vouchers can also be combined to buy one or more new phones., 18 July

Kraft price increase as demand rises

International paper and packaging group Mondi announced a price increase of Euro40 (£31) per tonne for brown kraftliner and kraft-substitutes in the Mediterranean area, including Italy and Spain. Mondi said the hike was the result of strong seasonal demand and supply restrictions following the bankruptcy of a major containerboard supplier. Given the current extended lead times, Mondi has asked its customers to send order forecasts promptly. It indicated that further containerboard price increases are to be expected in other regions and for other grades.
PaperAge, 12 July

Accident leads to mill evacuation
Smurfit Kappa’s Cellulose du Pin containerboard mill in France has been closed by an incident in which a tank burst, releasing some 3,500cu m of black liquid on to the site. The mill’s pulp and paper production was halted immediately and workers were evacuated. No-one was injured., 13 July



Market volatility hits paper merger deal

There will be no merger between specialty paper manufacturer Appleton and Hicks Acquisition Company II [??] after a proposed $657m (£420m) deal failed. According to Mark Richards, Appleton chairman, president and chief executive, volatile market conditions had made it impossible to find an acceptable solution for both parties and prevented a deal from being completed., 13 July

Novelis goes it alone on can recycling

Aluminum products maker Novelis pulled out of its Evermore joint venture with Alcoa to recycle beverage cans and has decided instead to set up its own recycling business. Alcoa said it would assume full control of Evermore on 31 August. The two companies have been partners since 2009 in the joint venture, which purchases more recycled cans than any other group in the world. Neither Alcoa nor Novelis revealed financial details of Novelis’ withdrawal from the venture, which was originally planned to last until 2014. Novelis owned 55.8% of Evermore.
Reuters, 17 July

Raise a glass to beer in biofuel process

US engineers have developed a process of turning beer into biofuel, which they claim outperforms industry-standard ethanol. Researchers at the University of Cornell are not using the beer that people would drink but fermentation broth, which is chemically identical to it from which the fuel ethanol is produced. Ethanol is a widely used biofuel but is expensive to produce as it is water soluble so it has to be distilled from the broth. The researchers claimed they have designed a process for upgrading it, which is more versatile and could be used in already established ethanol production lines in the future.
Energy Live News, 13 July



Beijing introduces PEt recycling banks

More than 100 recycling banks are to be introduced to the subways and pavements of Beijing. The machines will crush PET bottles to a third of their size and sort them by colour. Donors will receive between 5 fen and 1 mao (about 1p) for each bottle disposed of, probably in the form of credits for the subway., 19 July

Ship building demand for steel at standstill

The Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) has predicted that the steel industry in South Korea would be “dull” in the second half of 2012 because the steel demand for construction and ship building has come to a standstill. According to KCCI, the total export volume of ship building in the first five months of 2012 in South Korea was about $2.1bn. It is expected that the export volume in second half of 2012 would fall by 28% year-on-year. The ship building industry was said to be the most affected, exacerbated by the European debt crisis. However, KCCI said the motor industry would alleviate slack steel market demand.
Scrap Monster, 13 July

Less export of Labour-intensive products

China’s General Administration of Customs released half-year data this month, noting a trend of labour-intensive, manufactured products taking a smaller share of the nation’s total exports. But specific statistics on plastics exports were said to illustrate decent volume growth and rapid value growth. The seven categories of labour-intensive products - including textiles, clothing, luggage, footwear, toys, furniture and plastic products - together grew 7.7 % during the first six months. But their share in total export fell slightly compared with the same period last year, by 0.3 percentage points to 19.5 %, according to the Customs department.
Chinese Plastic News, 13 July

Tata Steel sells stake in Netherlands firm

Tata Steel is to sell its 50% stake in Netherlands-based metals recycler HKS Scrap Metals to Euro Scrap Alliance (ESA). The deal is subject to approval from the European Commission. ESA is a subsidiary of Germany’s TSR. HKS employs about 180 people in its six locations, including Amsterdam and Hengelo. Tata Steel said: “The transaction is in line with our strategy of focusing on core activities. The business connections between Tata Steel in the Netherlands and HKS will remain active.” Tata Steel has major European plants located in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium., 16 July



PET recycling is good for jobs in South Africa

Recycling PET had helped to generate almost 26‚000 indirect jobs‚ according to Cheri Scholtz, chief executive of PETCO, the industry organisation covering PET in South Africa. Scholtz said the plastics recycling industry can help to reduce poverty across the country and contribute to GDP growth. Addressing the National Bottled Water Association conference in Midrand, [when??]‚ Scholtz said that PETCO and its recycling initiatives had become a global benchmark for extended producer responsibility. PETCO said it is on the way to achieving its target of recycling 50% of all beverage PET by 2015.
Independent Online SA, 17 July



Bottle deposit plans cause industry row

Green campaigners in Australia are lobbying for a bottle deposit scheme to be introduced nationwide, and claims of federal government support. But it is estimated tha tthe scheme could cost some families up to AU$470 (£312) a year more as drinks prices were expected to rise by 20c - or $4 more for a case of beer. Analysis of the proposal by consultancy ACIL Tasman was based on a scheme introduced this year in the Northern Territory, which lifted prices by 20c a bottle - double the 10c refund price paid on the empty containers. The analysis was commissioned by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which is strongly opposed to the move.
Daily Telegraph AU, 14 July

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