Scrap traders are trading in the worst market since it collapsed a year ago.
Those in the industry told MRW that since prices began to ease off in September, the ferrous market has carried on dropping due to a lack of construction and a fall in export demand.
Over the past month, prices have fallen by around £15-20 across the board and this price cut may continue.
A trader agreed the market is at its lowest point since its collapse in November last year. He said: The export market has eased off, which seems to be because firms cannot sell their end products. The fall in price has all happened since the end of August/early September when demolition virtually stopped, and demolition is the precursor to construction, so because no construction has been going on there is very little scrap produced.
However, he added: It is a volatile market, and there have been a lot of periods in the past when there have been several bad years of trading followed by good years and as the world market opens up the more the exchange rate affects the price.
Small business Haywood and Cook managing director Jenny Williams said: It is deadly quiet in Birmingham. Ive been in the business for 40 odd years and even though weve been through past recessions Ive never known this before. Usually, you shrug your shoulders and think that it will just pick up because you have to stay positive but so far it hasnt picked up and there is absolutely no sign that anythings going to change. Both my sons work here with me and what the future is for them I really dont know.
But Ampthill Metal Company business and development manager Mick Leech stressed that the current market is nowhere near the same level as it was in November, despite the current trading conditions. He said: Turkey has recently gone out of the export market and its on a bit of a downward spiral at the moment. Whether its just a blip, I dont know, but demand for steel continues to be much better than it was a year ago.