Easter and coronavirus have created a strange environment for those trading recyclable materials this week.
In many cases, not much has changed as a combination of a shorter working week, school Easter holidays and the lockdown put a pause on many trades.
But for some materials such as plastic bottles and cardboard, demand was improving still to meet the need of manufacturers for essential packaging.
The PRN/PERN market has also become dormant with little trade taking place. This is down to a lack of supply with many producers closed, and others focused on providing their essential services. Even if there was supply, lots of discussion is occurring on whether those producers that reopen will be able to afford their obligation.
Movement of material to deep sea destinations has slowed due to their own lockdowns, but those trading recyclable materials there found the pound was a bit stronger against the dollar at $1.24 compared to $1.23 a week ago.
The pound was still at €1.14 against the euro this week.
Good demand was seen for bottle grades this week as warmer weather and more people at home helped to stimulate more demand for soft drinks/alcohol and milk. PET was up by £25 and HDPE by £30 per tonne.
Higher LDPE grades were still moving into Europe and some domestic trade, but there wasn’t any additional demand to push prices higher.
This was the same with PP which remains steady.
However, lower grade jazz and mixed hard plastics are struggling to find outlets at the moment.
Demand continued to come from Europe for material as mills there need to stock up.
OCC saw really good demand helping to push the price above £50, while mixed improved to around £8 per tonne.
However, the challenge is getting hold of material as arisings are reported to be poor. High-quality retail tonnage is hard to come by with many shops closed, while many local authorities have delayed collections.
MRF tonnage that a few weeks ago was not wanted is now snapped up greedily by European mills, especially for OCC.
Some expect this situation to end soon, some are hopeful it will last a bit longer, and some are hoping the sun will shine for longer so they can continue to make hay.
Prices were unchanged again this week with many scrap yards closed and most exceptionally quiet as sources of material have largely disappeared.
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