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Stable ferrous market expected

A leading ferrous scrap dealer has forecast a stronger market in Europe and greater stability during the rest of this year.

Tom Bird (pictured), managing director at Mettalis Recycling in Sheffield, presented his upbeat review of the ferrous sector at the latest convention of the Bureau of international Recycling in Berlin.

Tom Bird

Tom Bird

Bird told a meeting of the ferrous division that recent weeks had seen higher prices as customers returned to ferrous scrap from “unreliable billet supplies”.

Even so, he said, some major buyers had implemented “significant” price reductions in May and further cuts were anticipated in leading markets in June. However, he forecast “a brighter market” and greater stability later into this year.

The recent surge in ferrous scrap prices “did not last long enough to adequately repair the collection system”, ferrous president William Schmiedel of Sims Metal Management told the meeting.

Schmiedel said ferrous had been riding “a roller-coaster” in the early months of this year, and a large number of contracts being traded on China’s futures exchanges was adding to uncertainty.

Jason Schenker, founder and president of US commodity and financial research firm Prestige Economics, said a general trend towards higher steel prices “might not be stable”.

He cast doubt on forecasts of GDP growth for China in 2016 of 6.5%, noting that the country’s manufacturing sector had declined for 16 of the past 17 months.

In the US, meanwhile, manufacturing data had contracted for five consecutive months until February 2016 while the eurozone was experiencing “modest expansion”.

The BIR also agreed to investigate smarter technology to improve container security after Dale Didion of US-based Akua Secure Logistics said research suggested the annual cost of US cargo theft could be as much as $50bn (£35bn).

He gave details of his company’s security devices for containers to transmit an alert if tampered with or if there were changes to temperature or humidity. Satellite communication enabled realtime data to be sent securely to a client’s phone.



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