Recycling Market Conditions: looking ahead (9 April 2018)

Recycling market week ahead
Recycling market prices may change this week

Things should start to return to normal-ish this week as most schools return back, and those who have been looking after the kids return to work.

While some schools are still off this week, beginning their spring breaks last week, the majority are now back.


However, the usual Easter increase in material arisings doesn’t seem to have occurred this year, with miserable weather over the period preventing people from going to the shops.

With the weather now more spring like, the hope is that there will be a delayed reaction and more people will now head outside, buying stuff, and recycling the packaging it came in.

In the recycling market, the Chinese buyers have been back leading the market for two weeks now, and the indications are that they will continue to do so for OCC. But India and European buyers seem a bit more cautious, while UK domestic mills fall somewhere inbetween.

Mixed paper has also seen a little more interest, and the particularly good quality stuff can now be breaking £30 into Europe and Vietnam.

Plastics markets are expected to be stable this week, but concerns remain on how much interest there will be from export destinations. There remains demand from South East destinations such as Malalysia, Vietnam and Thailand, but there is also a fear these could switch off at any moment once they get full.

For cans, the market is uncertain as a result of the potential trade war between China and US. Potentially, UK prices for steel and aluminium could rise if demand for these materials switches from the tariff-laden US market.

Forecast prices

                        13 April                  4 May 
OCC                 £80-84                    £76-80
ONP                 £89-93                    £86-90
Mixed paper     £9-13                      £8-12

PET                 £235-241                £232-238
HDPE              £400-406                £396-402
LDPE 98/2       £188-194                £186-192

In terms of market influencers, conditions have been quite stable, with no dramatic changes to shipping costs reported for example.

FX rates have been relatively stable in recent weeks too, although much will depend on the economic data published this week, there is a sense the pound may strengthen a touch this week against the dollar.

Any signals that the potential trade war between China and US will get worse, is likely to push the dollar lower, and of course, the pound higher.

There is still an expectation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates in May, but if economic surveys published this week change that view, then this could push the pound lower.


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