Secondary Markets Commentary – 23 February 2018

Plastic bottle bales PET

There was a little more optimism in the market this week for those trading packaging plastics.

But it was a much tougher market for those in the paper sector who struggled to move material.


In metals, copper was up by £200 per tonne, but the rest of the scrap metal market was stable.

More on all of this in the specific sections below.

The pound was down just a touch on last week at $1.397 compared to $1.405 this time last week, but this wasn’t enough to make much difference.

Prices for shipping containers doesn’t appear to have changed much for March, but those who are exporting are still waiting to see whether there will be any availability disruption as a result of Chinese New Year.

With some schools also off this week for half-term in the UK, it also added another element to make the market quieter overall.

However, despite it being a quiet market, we have largely completed both January and February trading, and following the Chinese ban, material is still moving. Indeed, as we begin the run-up to Easter, there is some optimism that we may have hit the bottom in the market, and that there will be some improvement in conditions in the coming weeks.


Packaging grades got a little boost this week with £5 per tonne added to each of them.

The reason for this appears to be that end destination recyclers were flooded with material after Christmas and were struggling to process it all.

However, most of that material has now been dealth with helping to add a bit more liquidity into the market.

Demand has definitely improved, at least for the short term, helped by the strength of the global economy bringing more buyers into the frame.

European demand from manufacturers there remains good, while Asian destinations are also opening up a bit more again for good quality material.

The increasing PRN price for plastic, just below £60 per tonne is also helping.

See plastic pricing data at the bottom of the page here


The market was almost asleep this week as many reported trading volumes to be very low.

Those with material to sell were finding spot market orders from export or domestic sources were not there.

Or there was a stand-off with buyers offering extremely low prices with sellers refusing to take them up.

OCC came off again losing its gains from last week and more, while mixed lost a further £3 per tonne to fall below £10.

For OCC though, quality was king, and retail tonnage was able to attract up to £70 per tonne.

However, there is some optimism that March might bring a better market, with Chinese New Year appearing to delay purchasing for the month by a week. It is also hoped that improved quotas may be issued following the break from the Chinese Government.

See paper pricing data at the bottom of the page here


Copper grades improved on the back of extra demand being seen on the LME. Improving economic demand for copper from growing global economies is helping to boost demand.

Other metals were stable this week.

See metal pricing data at the bottom of the page here

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