LONDON The United States
and China will continue to be the driving forces of the global
scrap industry, according to one scrap industry executive.
Automobile demand and the
housing sector will continue to dominate as scraps
drivers, Robert Stein, senior vice president of nonferrous
marketing at St. Louis-based Alter Trading Corp., told
AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin in an
Chinas domestic industries
are expected to continue to grow this year.
"China clearly has vast
infrastructural demand," Stein said.
Both the U.S. automotive
industry and housing market are also seen as strong.
"The country to watch is the
USA. People have written it off, but it has good demand and
good energy potential," he said. "In the two major sectors
affecting scrap demandautomobiles and
constructionthings are becoming steadier."
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New
York, said this week that an encouraging outlook in China and
the prospect of a U.S. housing recovery will bolster metals
demand in 2013.
Additionally, General Motors
Co., Detroit, and Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., have
projected higher 2013 vehicle sales.
"In almost all (nonferrous)
metals, there is not enough scrap. ... The gap between supply
and demand is likely to grow further," Stein said.
While some have tipped Vietnam
and India to be new major players in the market, Stein is less
than convinced. "Vietnam doesnt have the population.
Its not a big market," he said. "The other likely
candidate would be India, but I just dont think its
going to happen. I dont know if India has room to
Stein, who is also nonferrous
president of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR),
Brussels, stressed that the scrap industry continues to tackle
long-running obstacles, including scrap theft and government
The BIR has voiced concerns
about the potential problems caused by protectionist measures
used by governments to control or limit the international trade
But the international flow of
scrap metal isnt what is currently making scrap
expensive, Stein said, instead attributing it to a combination
of underlying metals values and lower supplies.
But the biggest concern for
Stein is the state of the world economy. "It always boils down
to the economy. So much of our business is psychological. We
want people spending," he said.
A version of this article was first
published by AMM sister publication Metal