China contract woes percolate at BIR meeting

Oct 30, 2008 | 11:03 AM | Barbara O'Donovan

Tensions over Chinese contracts and concerns over an increasing number of defaults by scrap buyers were much in evidence at the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) conference in Germany this week.

Traders complained that many consumers—particularly in China—are reneging on contracts in the face of plunging prices.

"From what I hear, a lot of Chinese buyers have cancelled or broken the terms of their contracts in a bad way," one BIR member said.

But it's not just Chinese companies that are defaulting, according to BIR's nonferrous president, Robert Stein, who said the problem is affecting all "the traditional homes of scrap."

One merchant said that three of his containers had not been collected in India and are now on the way back to Europe. "We decided to bring the containers back because in India if they stay in the port uncollected for longer than a certain period of time then they get auctioned off, but I've still lost £45,000 ($74,000) in demurrages," he said. ....

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