Recycling prices and market commentary: 26 November 2021

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LDPE film

It was a volatile market for recycled plastics this week, especially as the regulators created confusion by re-introducing PRN/PERNs back into the market.

As a result, the price of the PRN/PERN dropped, and this helped push bottle grades down. However, there is very strong demand for film, and prices for this increased.

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For paper, OCC, mixed and news & pam all saw small falls.

Metals though saw huge price rises with copper, brass and aluminium all increasing in value.

Logistics continues to improve, although is still challenging. With Christmas rapidly approaching, and it falling on a Saturday, many are trying to sort out moving material both before, during and after Christmas. There is an expectation of less drivers and containers available as people take time off over the festive period.

With the euro still at €1.19 as it was last week, it still remains strong compared to recent months. The dollar was trading against the pound at $1.32, making exports to Asian destinations in particular cheaper.

Recycled plastics

As previously reported by REB Market Intelligence, the Environment Agency at the end of October cancelled 11,000 tonnes of PRN/PERNs and this pushed up the price rapidly and caused a scramble in the market to cover these lost tonnes.

This week, it put back 7,000 of these and caused more chaos in the market. Of course, the PRN/PERN price dropped to just under £50 from £90 a week ago. There are a lot of unhappy people as a result of what has occurred in the last few weeks with the additional costs this has led to.

But the underlying market for plastics remains strong, driven by good demand and higher virgin prices.

Despite this PRN/PERN price drop, bottle grades only lost £10 per tonne.

In the case of film, prices have increased sharply to around £430 for LDPE 98/2, but higher prices can be achieved from European buyers, and some domestic sources. Others are below this.

Higher oil and gas prices have driven up virgin prices, but there is also strong demand for film coming from Europe where lockdown fears are meaning importers want to stock up. With Christmas also approaching, they want to ensure they have enough stock to cover the remainder of the busy retail period and beyond Christmas into 2022. It is also the case that buying from the UK also means further planning for logistics, so buyers want to get in there early.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
PET312-318317-323
HDPE582-588591-597
LDPE 98/2439-445434-440

Recycled paper

There are really different expectations in the market, and tensions between those who think prices should drop more, and those who are trying to maintain it where it is.

The reality this week that not much was being traded as most have bought early ahead of the logistical problems expected for Christmas, with European mills also aware that they need to buy now or earlier from the UK to ensure material arrives before the festive period.

Asian buyers though are less forthcoming and happy to see prices drop. For Europe, £130 can still be achieved for OCC but Asian buyers are pushing for £120 to £125.

Mixed is still holding up, but felt the weight of gravity to drop to £100 with Europe again driving this demand, and some mills there are still happy to pay up to £110. Asian mills think above £90 is more realistic at the moment.

With only one mill buying news & pam this week, prices dropped a touch when they realised they had the market to themselves.

For the time being, the likelihood seems to be that the coming weeks will either bring stability or very slow easing of prices for recovered fibre, but nobody expects anything more dramatic than that.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
OCC126-130125-129
ONP140-144140-144
Mixed98-10297-101

Recycled metals

Much stronger LME prices drove up scrap prices this week. Copper was up by £400 per tonne, brass by £200 per tonne, and aluminium by £50 per tonne.

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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