The haulage situation seemed to improve just a little this week, but nobody believes it is a trend that is going to continue.
With it being summer, volumes of trade between UK and Europe dropped off naturally anyway, and haulage prices even came down for some – if they could get hold of drivers, which was still challenging, albeit improved. Some though also reported that haulage prices were rising, especially as fuel prices are also going up. It seemed dependent on who you are dealing with, but most expect haulage to remain difficult and prices to rise.
Plastic film benefitted from some seeing temporary improvement in haulage prices, but other materials such as paper grades were not seeing a huge amount of interest from Europe anyway.
There remains a great deal of uncertainty ahead, and while there is now the traditional market lull for the summer, nobody really knows what September and beyond will bring.
In terms of foreign exchange, the pound was down to $1.38 from $1.39 a week ago, but slightly stronger against the euro at €1.18 from €1.17 a week ago.
This week saw a further fall in the value of the PRN/PERN with it coming down by £5 per tonne. For bottle grades, European demand was subdued and the material price came down by the same value as the certificate.
Film was slightly different, as slightly better haulage rates and a more beneficial currency meant that the price for the material was flat as this balanced out the PRN/PERN fall.
Moving material remains challenging, and the re-opening of Turkey has not yet affected the market.
OCC was up a touch this week following improving demand from Indonesia in particular, but also some other Asian destinations.
Other destinations, especially Europe were weaker, and there seemed to be no interest in mixed at all this week.
Haulage within the UK appears to be very difficult at the moment, and little was headed into Europe anyway, which did seem slightly improved as mentioned above.
August looks set to be very quiet, perhaps even quieter than you would expect at this time of year, but nobody seems to want to commit to a view of where September will be because of the impact of rising costs to move material. There are some that take the view that Christmas demand could lead to record prices in the autumn, but others are more cautious suggesting many mills are already well prepared. It seems like we will have to wait until the end of summer for this to become clearer.
Copper grades were up by £50 per tonne in an otherwise static market.
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