Recycling prices and market commentary: 4 November 2022

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LDPE film

Fireworks were going off in the PRN/PERN market this week that helped boost the value of certain paper and plastic grades.

With perhaps the exception of the aluminium PRN/PERN, all packaging grades are being strongly influenced by high prices, although both glass remelt and glass other actually dropped in value this week.

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For paper and plastics especially, it is providing essential support at a time of uncertainty, which is what it was designed to do.

Overall though, markets generally remain worried about the global economic picture and the impact that will have on demand for recycled content.

Following the Bank of England raising interest rates by 0.75%, and hinting that it could be the limit of rises, the pound slipped against the dollar to $1.12, which also made exports cheaper. This compares to $1.15 a week ago.

Compared to the euro, it was €1.14 at the time of writing, from €1.15 last week.

Recycled plastics

It was another week where all the talk was about the rising PRN/PERN, with it reaching £415 this week. By breaching £400, it also brought about talk of it being £500 before the year is out, but that remains to be seen.

This helped to provide support for packaging grades, but the rise in price for these as a result didn’t match the increase of the PRN/PERN.

Demand seems to be falling for all destinations, with consumers and businesses generally buying less stuff across the world. This is hitting demand for both virgin and recycled content.

But in context, the high PRN/PERN value has kept the price of packaging grades high. As we get closer to the end of the compliance year and nearer to the transition period, thoughts are now starting to focus on what will happen to prices next year.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
PET458-464466-472
HDPE975-981974-980
LDPE 98/2670-676672-678

Recycled paper

OCC increased again this week after the surprise rise seen a week ago.

South East Asian buyers continued to dominate the market and were prepared to pay high prices to secure good quality material. Some UK buyers also stepped in to sweep up anything that wasn’t been bought by South East Asia, although a bit lower in price.

European mills and India were not that active.

Although prices of £120 were being talked about, the reality was the market was more around the £110 price for the good stuff.

With the PRN/PERN rising again this week to record levels, this is providing support for this grade and making UK material attractive to South East Asian mills. When combined with good shipping rates and a low exchange rate, UK OCC is competitive.

There is talk now of a £40 PRN/PERN for paper, but it hadn’t been achieved at the time of writing. But the underlying market is generally weaker, and the upcoming 2023 compliance year may result in changes to physical and certificate prices.

Mixed got a bit more interest as a result, with UK, European mills and a bit of South East Asia, continuing to take advantage of low prices.

Forecast prices

1-week4-week
OCC112-116110-114
ONP170-174170-174
Mixed34-3830-34

Recycled metals

While copper increased by £50 per month, brass was down by the same amount. Other grades were stable.

The steel PRN/PERN is up by about £40 at the moment, but this hasn’t had an impact on prices as yet.

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