As we enter the winter holiday season, nonferrous scrap recyclers have much to be thankful for. As compared to 2016, terminal market nonferrous metal prices registered healthy year-on-year gains in 2017.
As of this writing, the LME official 3-mo. aluminum price was up around 20 percent for the year-to-date. And yet, physical market premiums have flattened out recently and scrap market spreads remain historically wide. Heading into 2018, there seem to be as many unanswered questions as answers.
Critically, Chinese import demand for nonferrous scrap is a top concern for our industry given China’s outsized role in the global market and announced import restrictions. According to ISRI estimates, export sales account for approximately 30 percent of U.S. scrap industry earnings and China is by far our largest overseas customer. Upcoming changes in U.S. tax policy, regulatory oversight, and transportation policy are no less important for scrap recyclers.
Thankfully, we have an industry association that is fighting for us on all fronts. ISRI is actively advocating on our behalf with government, industry, and association leaders in the U.S., China, and across the globe. I strongly encourage you to get active with ISRI this year so that our trade association can make all our voices clearly heard. Renewing your ISRI membership and registering for the 2018 ISRI Convention & Expo are good ways to start!
As we prepare to start a new year in 2018, there are sure to be many challenges and opportunities to come. I sincerely look forward to working with you all on our key issues as our industry continues to evolve. In the meantime, I wish all of you a great finish to 2017 and a healthy and profitable 2018!
ISRI Nonferrous Division Chair