Hydro starts up its new plant in Germany

Norway-based aluminium producer Hydro has commissioned its new €45 million ($51 million) secondary production facility in Neuss, Germany, which is equipped to melt up to 50,000 tonnes of used beverage containers (UBCs) annually.

The company’s Michael Peter Steffen says the new plant “is located in the heart of a growing can market, as Europeans now are using more than 30 billion cans a year.”

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“Hydro’s facility in Neuss is the first to adopt a patented, advanced sorting technology for UBCs, able to process collected aluminium material with up to 20% impurities—making the new recycling line the best place to be for any used beverage can,” says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

Secondary production in Neuss using UBCs will save 350,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year compared with use of primary aluminium, Hydro says.

“With the new recycling line, we offer our international customers a closed recycling loop, literally turning old cans into new cans,” said Executive Vice President Kjetil Ebbesberg at the 5 May 2016 opening ceremony.

Ebbesberg and Brandtzæg officially opened the UBC recycling line together with Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe and Northrhine-Westphalian Economy Minister Garrelt Duin.

EMR commits to its London area port facility

EMR Ltd., a United Kingdom-based scrap recycling firm that is one of the world’s largest, has signed a lengthy lease and committed to invest to upgrade at its Tilbury, U.K., port facility, near London.

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An announcement posted to EMR’s website says the Tilbury site plays an important role in EMR’s activities in the southeast of England. “It acts as an export hub for the company’s numerous depots around London and handles over 1 million tonnes of U.K.-produced scrap metal, mainly iron and steel, every year,” EMR says. The metal is then “loaded onto vessels that can carry up to 42,000 tonnes at a time and be transported to destinations as far away as India or Korea,” the company adds.

According to an online report from Port Strategy, EMR recently signed a 25-year lease with the Port of Tilbury that will entail investing £3 million ($4 million) to upgrade equipment at the site.

“We are delighted that we will be continuing to export from Tilbury, which is one of four deep-sea export facilities we operate in the U.K.,” says Bob Garwood, EMR U.K. “The investment we are making in upgrading the facilities will help to ensure that the site is competitive and has the capacity to meet the needs of the group over the next 10 years.”

China hits a steel barrier

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have passed a nonlegislative resolution stating that China’s exports to the European Union (EU) must be treated in a “nonstandard” way “until China has fulfilled the EU’s five criteria for market economy status.” The resolution was passed in the European Parliament by a vote of 546 to 28, with 77 abstentions.

According to a press release issued by the MEPs, “This nonstandard methodology, for use in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, should assess whether China’s costs and prices are market-based, so as to ensure a level playing field for EU industry and defend EU jobs.”

Supporters of the resolution say that that 56 of the EU’s current 73 anti-dumping measures apply to imports from China, with many of those pertaining to steel and other metals. China’s excessive production of steel is considered by many critics as the predominant reason for steel and ferrous scrap prices that have been trending downward most of the past two years.

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For the resolution to mean anything, the MEPs acknowledge that “the EU must to find a way to [follow a nonstandard protocol] in compliance with its international obligations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and in particular China’s WTO Accession Protocol, which provides for changes in how China is to be treated after 11 December 2016.”

Brussels-based steelmaking organisation EUROFER has expressed support for the resolution. “The message from the European Parliament has been abundantly clear: A significant majority of MEPs do not believe it is the right time to grant China market economy status,” says EUROFER Director General Axel Eggert. “China is not a market economy, and thus cannot be treated as such for the purpose of anti-dumping investigations.”

Of the 37 anti-dumping measures currently in force on steel in the EU, 16 involve China in some way, according to EUROFER. The group adds, “Were market economy status to be granted, the EU’s trade defence measures would be rendered ineffective, with no other enforcement tool available.”

LME reports ferrous scrap trading activity

The London Metal Exchange (LME) says the first voice-brokered trade of its LME Steel Scrap contract was executed 4 May 2016 by INTL FCStone Ltd. on behalf of United Kingdom-based steel distributor Stemcor.

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The new additions to the LME’s ferrous products, LME Steel Scrap and LME Steel Rebar, “have seen considerable support from the market since their launch in November 2015,” according to the LME. On the scrap contract, 35,990 tonnes (3,599 lots) have been traded, and on the rebar contract some 9,600 tonnes (960 lots) of steel have been traded. A new single-trade record of 1,000 tonnes (100 lots) of scrap was set in the 4 May voice-brokered trade. The new cash-settled futures contracts can be traded monthly out to 15 months and have a lot size of 10 tonnes.

“Real industry prefers to hedge through trades quoted over the phone by their brokers, so this first voice-brokered trade shows these contracts are being accepted as risk management tools for the steel industry,” says Matthew Chamberlain, head of business development at the LME.

Market interest has been steadily growing, according to the LME. It says its market-making programs “have ensured that tradable prices for the contracts have been displayed since their launch and, for the first time ever, the global industry now has a 12-month tradable forward curve for both products.”

Phillip Price, head of market risk management and derivatives trading at Stemcor, says, “Based on the development so far, we feel these launches have been the most successful in the commodities space since iron ore swaps.”