Recycling prices and market commentary: 25 February 2022

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Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

It was a week of rising prices especially for recycled paper and plastic grades.

Indeed, prices were really jumping up this week.

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In plastics, the rising PRN/PERN plus more demand helped push packaging grades even higher.

For paper grades, buying for March brought really high prices for OCC and mixed paper especially.

Some metal grades were up also.

However, the PRN/PERN market remains sluggish. With the exception of plastics, everything else was unchanged. The reason for this appears to be that there is a view that obligations will be down this year, due to Covid and light weighting of packaging and switching of materials such as plastic to paper.

Therefore, participants are waiting until next month to get a handle on obligations before they have more confidence in how to trade for the year.

Foreign exchange markets saw a cheaper pound against the dollar at $1.34 from $1.36 a week ago, while on a week-to-week basis the euro saw no change at €1.19 after hovering above €1.20 midweek.

Recycled plastics

There was strong demand for packaging grades boosted by a £10 per tonne rise in the PRN/PERN value.

In particular, bottle grades are really wanted by buyers at the moment, with PET up by £40 per tonne this week, and HDPE bottles by £20 per tonne. This is also a reflection of rising oil and gas prices pushing up virgin polymers.

Film didn’t respond quite as much, rising by just £10 per tonne. European buyers, who are the key market at the moment, are well stocked and are happy at current levels.

Trade to Turkey and Indonesia appears to be improving though and there is strong appetite for film from these countries.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
PET490-496502-508
HDPE745-751750-756
LDPE 98/2480-486486-492

Recycled paper

It was a bit of a mad market this week as trading took place for March.

Prices were up considerably with OCC typically anywhere between £150 to £170, but mostly around low £160s. A delivered price of £180 to a UK mill was even quoted.

Demand is coming from India and UK domestic mills in particular, and these were needing material. With India unable to buy from the EU for at least another six weeks until it receives permission again, it is wanting UK and US fibre.

Mixed also went up with India driving prices here, rather than Europe as has been normal in recent weeks.

Other grades such as news & pams, multi and SOW also responded with slightly higher prices.

However, people are also watching the situation with Russia and Ukraine to see if the invasion by the former into the latter has an adverse effect on the global economy.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
OCC162-166165-169
ONP148-152148-152
Mixed120-124122-126

Recycled metals

Copper and brass both increased by £50 per tonne this week. No changes for other grades.

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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