Posted on 30/10/2009 in category Ferrous




Brussels,30th October 2009

BIRAutumn Round-Table Sessions

Amsterdam,26-27 October 2009

NonFerrous Metals Division:

Industryon a better course

Compared to the BIR 2008 AutumnConvention, a far greater measure of optimism permeated the latestNon-Ferrous Metals Round-Table in Amsterdam, with divisionalPresident Robert Stein of US-based Alter Trading expressing the hopethat “we’ve seen the worst of what the world has to give us”.Although some companies have “vanished” and many have “lost alot of money”, the industry for the most part “is on a far bettercourse than we were last autumn”.

Having highlighted the boost providedby governments’ financial stimuli and strong demand from developingnations, Mr Stein continued: “As restocking of finished non-ferrousproducts takes place, as the automotive industries around the worldimprove, as delayed construction projects are rejuvenated and peoplego back to their jobs, I think we can look forward to sustainableimprovement in our businesses.” However, he also identified “morecaution” in the marketplace as well as increased recognition amongbuyers that sellers require financial performance guarantees.

Guest speaker Michael Widmer, MetalsStrategist with Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch in the UK,envisaged potential for a “relatively healthy rebound in GDPgrowth” and an improvement in metals demand next year, not leastbecause many government stimulus packages will roll over into 2010.He ventured an average copper price for next year of US$ 7000 pertonne.

But fellow guest speaker GünterKirchner, Secretary General of the Organisation of European AluminiumRefiners and Remelters (OEA), confessed that he is “not so sure thebad times are really over”. However, he also expressed certaintythat, for the long term, recovery of aluminium from scrap willincrease.

A massive leap in internationalaluminium scrap flows - from 427,200 tonnes in 1995 to an estimated2.8m tonnes in 2007 - was identified by Mr Kirchner, whosepresentation also included a call for a casting alloys pricing systemthat provides a stable relationship between aluminium alloys andscrap which, he said, is currently “missing”.

In a review of recent BIR InternationalTrade Council activities, its Chairman Robert Voss of VossInternational in the UK outlined the efforts made by BIR, with thehelp of BIR ambassador in India Ikbal Nathani, to ensure a smoothflow of scrap into India in response to the country’s proposedimport measures. He also indicated that, for companies wishing toregister to supply scrap to China, the country’s GeneralAdministration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine(AQSIQ) wants all new applicants to be certified to ISO 9001 orequivalent. However, a recent communications from AQSIQ insinuatesthat this requirement might not apply to those companies looking torenew their registrations.

In addition, Mr Voss referred to theopening-up of a “channel of communication” with the creditinsurance sector which could eventually lead to the development of apolicy tailored to the entire scrap industry.

The meeting in Amsterdam also featureda review of latest non-ferrous scrap market conditions around theworld from divisional board member Dhawal Shah of Metco Marketing inIndia. He pointed to “doubts” over the strength of domesticdemand in China and, in particular, to the “rather sombre” moodpervading the non-ferrous market in the south of the country.Meanwhile, non-ferrous trading volumes in the USA have shrunk toaround 50% of the level of last year’s highs, he added.