It was a week when the market generally took a step back and tried to work out what the next few months may hold.
There are definite concerns over the health of the UK and global economies and what that will mean for demand. But much will depend on continuing low supplies of feedstock and what the balance of that will be.
While there remains demand, those who are buying are starting to wonder how long demand for their finished goods will last.
This uncertainty meant relatively stable prices for paper and plastics though. Plastic packaging grades responded to the increasing PRN/PERN price, while in paper only OCC changed.
In metals, copper, brass and ferrous grades were all down.
A rising pound also dampened demand a little from deep sea destinations with it rising sharply to $1.27 from $1.23 last week. Against the euro, it was stable at €1.17.
Packaging grades increased by around £10 per tonne this week, largely on the back of a £15 per tonne increase in the PRN/PERN.
With a bit of uncertainty in the market, especially around whether the high levels of demand will continue due to weaker global economic data, the full value of the PRN/PERN wasn’t realised on the physical material.
For the time being, demand into Europe remains good, and this could just be a temporary easing. But the fact that some are now pushing back, not wanting to see ever higher prices, could mean a change in momentum in the coming weeks.
It wasn’t a particularly active market this week, mostly due to the monthly trading that now seems to have become the norm.
With it being mid-month, the spot market quietened down as many had topped up enough and are now looking ahead.
However, it is also the case that demand seems to be easing a bit. While mill groups still need material, they are starting to worry about demand for finished goods in a weaker economic environment. They are starting to push back, either through negotiation or taking maintenance downtime.
With the pound strengthening sharply against the dollar, deep-sea buyers were also less active, waiting to see if this stabilises, especially as it made UK material a bit more expensive after being cheap in previous weeks.
Copper grades were down £200 per tonne this week, while brass also fell by £50 per tonne. Ferrous grades, including steel cans, also took a tumble by £20 per tonne.
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