• Weekly Market Report

Commodity News

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the sponsors, speakers, moderators, and attendees who participated at our Commodity Roundtables Forum in Chicago. We had an excellent turnout and outstanding roundtable discussions and networking events, and we look forward to seeing you all in Chicago again next year!

Below are some excerpts from the roundtable presentations, the complete collection of presentations will be available in the members’ section of the ISRI website shortly.

Ferrous – Moderated by Smart Recycling Mgt. CEO Greg Dixon, our ISRI Ferrous Roundtable featured Andreas Bokkenheuser from UBS, Casper Burgering from ABN AMRO, and Blake Hurtik from Argus Media. By itself, Mr. Bokkenheuser’s outstanding analysis of the ferrous scrap situation in China was worth the price of admission and attendees also benefitted from the excellent insights provided by Mssrs. Burgering and Hurtik. Here’s Casper Burgering’s slide on the history of the global steel industry:


A recurring theme across the roundtables was the impact of the various protectionist trade measures on the U.S. scrap recycling industry. Here’s Blake Hurtik’s slide on how ferrous scrap prices missed out on the Section 232 party that supported hot-rolled coil prices early on: 


Nonferrous – Trade issues and China also featured prominently at our Aluminum, Copper, and Nickel/Stainless Roundtables. One the most interesting presentations came from CRU’s Doug Hilderhoff at the Aluminum Roundtable, where the shifting dynamic between China’s aluminum scrap imports for general vs. tolling trade purposes was highlighted:


The disconnect between nonferrous primary and scrap prices also featured prominently in Chicago as scrap metal market conditions in the U.S. have become increasingly difficult. Darrell Fletcher from Huntington Bank presented this comparison of COMEX copper prices with No.1 and No. 2 scrap values:


As for the nickel/stainless steel scrap markets, Barry Hunter from Hunter Alloys provided a master class in Chicago on the development and outlook for the U.S. stainless scrap market and the importance of staying focused on how to conduct your business regardless of what primary commodity prices are doing. Looking forward, global consolidation and steady demand growth are expected to remain prominent features for the stainless steel industry:


Recovered Paper –

Last week, Fastmarkets RISI reported on the latest AF&PA boxboard production figures for the United States that show “Total boxboard monthly production {in August 2019} decreased 1.0 percent when compared to August 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 94.1 percent for August. Total Solid Bleached Boxboard & Liner production decreased 0.4 percent year to date; Recycled Boxboard production fell 1.0 percent year to date; and Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum decreased 0.5 percent year to date.”

As for recovered paper and fiber, RISI reports that “…buyers continue to press producers over lower recovered paper furnish costs, with old corrugated containers (OCC) remaining at just $25/ton in September, 63.8% lower than a year ago.” Here’s the trend in U.S. corrugated exports overall and to China and other key markets going back to the start of 2009:


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