Metal recyclers report “alarm” at restrictions on scrap exports at BIR convention


International trade of ferrous metals is “far from free” according to OECD trade and agriculture directorate senior economist Barbara Fliess.

Speaking at the ferrous division session at the BIR conference in Rome last week, she pointed out that an estimated 19 per cent of the world’s iron and steel scrap exports in value terms is subject to a restriction of come sort.


Scrap-related export restrictions, in the form of banks, taxes and licensing requirements among others “are being used more often around the world” she said.

An OECD inventory has already identified 30 countries which impose restrictive measures on iron and steel scrap, and she added that free trade would be the ideal in most circumstances rather than these restrictions.

Van Dalen Recycling UK managing director Tom Bird reported that the first five months of 2012 had been “challenging”, but he insisted that demand for scrap out of Europe remains strong with high levels of demand still coming from Turkey.

Meanwhile, the BIR non-ferrous division announced that it is asking leading metals market researcher CRU to conduct “a detailed worldwide study on non-ferrous scrap, its consumption in the different countries, areas and regions of the world and the scrap flows around the world”. The initial focus will be on aluminium and copper, and the aim is to present the findings by this October.

It is undertaking this study because there is visible growth in protectionist moves as governments look to secure raw material availability for their domestic industries.

It was also revealed in the non-ferrous session at the BIR convention that UniCredit is forecasting an average copper price of $8,400 per tonne for 2012 and $8,200 in 2013. For aluminium it is predicting $2,275 this year and $2,450 in 2013.