Recycling prices and market commentary: 13 September 2019

Cardboard OCC
Cardboard OCC in a bale

Recyclable material prices fell this week for many paper and plastic grades, with ferrous prices also dropping.

A fall in the value of the PRN/PERN pushed down packaging plastic grades, while lower demand saw an easing of OCC in paper.


Ferrous prices, including cans all dropped too.

There isn’t a huge amount of optimism around at the moment across the sector, but despite the PRN/PERN price fall, plastics prices remain very healthy.

Most are pessimistic when it comes to paper and metal prices, but it is always worth remembering that markets are cyclical and that it will improve eventually.

UK material to deep water destinations was a touch more expensive this week due to the pound reaching $1.24 from $1.23 a week ago.

Trading into Europe saw the same FX as last week with the pound at €1.11.

Recycled plastics

Conversations continue to be dominated by the volatile PRN/PERN market.

With its value falling by £65 this week compared to last week, that put downward pressure on packaging grades. It fell as a result of some major buyers not being active in the market this week.

However, good demand for these physical grades and a slight delayed response from some meant they did not fall as much as the PRN/PERN price did.

PET bottles came down by £25 per tonne and HDPE bottles by £15 per tonne. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they came down further next week though.

Film grades lost £50 per tonne, with European buyers largely responding to PRN/PERN price movements. A little more demand for material helped to prevent it falling at the same rate as the note.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

OCC lost £4 per tonne this week as prices at the top end dropped. Where £70 and above was possible last week, this was highly unlikely in this week’s trading.

The top end of the market for the best specification material was in the high-£60s, with quite a few of the large buyers of this material not active this week.

UK mill material was somewhere between £50-60 per tonne, as was European and other Asia.

India remained an exception, with below £50 the norm.

Other paper grades were stable, although mixed saw a little less demand from Europe that pushed it down by £1.

Looking forward, market views are mixed. There are some optimistic that demand will start to pick up soon. On the other hand, blank sailings and increased freight costs could soon start to bite.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Industrial grades were largely stable this week.

However, ferrous grades including cans dropped by £20 per tonne as international demand for iron and steel falls.

The aluminium PRN/PERN price is also on the move upwards, which could affect physical prices in the coming weeks.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here

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