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IRRSG2nd Web Meeting “Soared iron ore market and Present condition in China and Asia”

2020.06.29 11:52

Followed by the first Web Meeting held by IRRSG on May 28th (Now and after the Covid-19 pandemic: Kenichi Togawa (Kumamoto University)), IRRSG-sponsored 2nd web meeting was held on June18th . It was initially planned discussed about “The soaring iron scrap market and the current situation of the Chinese and Asian markets."

 

However, the discussion is exhaustively covered with the various scrap transactions including non-ferrous scrap, E-Waste (including small household appliances), waste plastic recycling after and living with Covid-19. This time, more than 80 people participated.

 

I would like to be appreciated to all the speakers for explaining the pertinent latest business circumstances, and also the participants gave us intriguing feedback and outlook along with their expectations for the seminar. It was significant opportunity.

 

 

写真

 

 

Tokyo Steel Co., Ltd. Mr. Koji Katayama "Present and outlook of steel and iron scrap "

Until just before the May meeting, Tokyo Steel, a price leader of an electric furnace company, has hold out the purchasing. At the time of May meeting, many iron scrap companies said, "Tokyo Steel finally get back to the market." "We are looking forward to TS’s purchasing further. " The market considerably recovered from that in May. Mr. Katayama told us the present market conditions and its background including his personal outlook.

 

Tokyo Steel recognized the Covid-19 outbreak overseas as an extraordinary serious issue as of January. Wait and see stance had been taken until the end of May. Meanwhile, the demand for iron scrap has been recovered globally and price has been rising in accordance with the iron ore market. The Turkey market is also bullish, the price has been gradually raised. Mr. Katayama personally presumed that the scrap market may swing back and forth around JPY25,000 tons (H2) without the second outbreak of Covid-19. In any case, the it may highly depend on the China’s lifted ban of iron scrap import.

 

 

Iron Ore Market (62%Fe USD/ton)3Months

グラフ

 

 

Tokyo steel Tahara H2 (JPY/ton)3Months

グラフ

 

 

Mr. Mr. Hiroshi Sai, Shibata Industry Co. "What is the effect of lifting of import ban of iron scrap to China? The scrap market in Asia"

Shibata Industry Co., Ltd., is Omuta, Fukuoka based, is doing recycling and other related business mainly at non-ferrous metal scrap. It is also a certified supplier of the Small Home Appliance Recycling. When I (Mr. Tanamachi) interviewed Mr. Sai, CEO of Shibata Industry, with Prof.Terazono at the National Institute of Environmental Studies in February, he talked mainly about non-ferrous, small home appliance as well as business environments of China and US. He profoundly knowledgeable about iron scrap. As the president of Kinki Sangyo Co., Ltd. in Izumiotsu, Osaka, Mr. Sai has extensively developed a scrap business and has expanded into the US. What he mentioned is based on the international perspective thus always very enticing.

 

I remember that at the planning stage of this webinar, Mr. Sai planned to talk with the people of the China Iron and Steel Association that he knew about the situation in China. However, the Iron and Steel Institute will hold a big tournament in Zhangjiagang, China, starting on the 16th, and unfortunately, the appearance could not be materialized. However, it is said that the accurate information will arrive in the evening of the 18th. Although Mr. Sai intentionally avoided to mention the details refrain from any misunderstanding, but the IRuniverse headquarters will receive the accurate information

 

Mr. Sai emphasized that “even if the import ban of iron scrap was lifted, it would not be acceptable as long as there were dust or impurities mixed in”. China will not accept unless it is high-purity scrap, not a waste iron but a raw material for remanufacturing. The price of iron scrap in China is relatively higher than that in Japan. Once the import is permitted, high-class products such as HS and Shinsetsu will be the first materials to be imported for China. He commented that without the second outbreak of Covid-19, the import should be permitted from 2021 at the earliest.

 

January to March of this year, Malaysia is paid attention to under the Covid-19 outbreak and export to China was terminated. However, blast furnace billets were over imported in Malaysia, including HS, at this time, and the amount of stock was so high until August or September. Hence, imports to Malaysia were completely stopped at this point.

 

 

Mr. Hisashi Yamaguchi Sanpo Bussan Co Ltd., & IR Universe Mr. Tanamachi, CEO,Mr. Naotake Hinohara at Metal Solution Provider

" China's non-ferrous scrap trade since July & BIR webinar information"

Sanpo Bussan mainly handles all non-ferrous materials, especially focused on the brass scrap. Aluminum, copper, and brass exports to China under the new standards (*new import standards by China) surely start from July 1st. However, the details of export proceeding and regulation is unknown yet.

 

Like iron scrap, quality is more important. Mr. Tanamachi asked, "I heard both scrap and aluminum are bought by exporters, but what about copper-based?" Yamaguchi said, "Given the China’s abundant funds, there is no doubt that Chinese companies are buyers. They are speculatively buying scrap, so the trading turnover is amazingly fast and hard to follow." (Added Tanamachi)

 

Currently, the price is overall high under the Covid-19 and undersupplied market. It is true that Sanpo Bussan has reduced its purchases, but it maintains their business with sophisticated inventory control. The mixed metal handled by the company had been exported to China so far. Sorting of mixed metal is domestically conducted due to the import is regulated in China. Sampo already introduced sorting machine in this March.

 

China bought low-grade Zorba, it is recycled in Spain and India. Meanwhile, Zorba has stale reputation because it is high dust content and likely to cause defect shaping.

 

Mr. Tanamachi asked about the licensing system, "I heard that CCIC for China will be expired ...", Mr. Yamaguchi said that “Until the distribution as a proper recycling material is established, its role still remains in some form.”

 

Next, Mr. Tanamachi asked Mr. Naotake Hinohara, at Metal Solution Provider (MSB), to explain the international market circumstances mainly of BIR. Mr. Hinonara takes a part of Japan’s organizer of BIR(Bureau of International Recycling).

 

Mr. Hinohara said, "BIR held several webinar convention on various themes in this June, but the content was mainly about the damages derived from Covid-19 including plant shutdown by country" In other words, it was said that "keep persisting and exchanging information."

 

Europe is recovering, and there are some inquiries about aluminum and copper, but the market environment is rather tough for profitability (for example, the purchase price in Japan). Please refer to several IR universe websites, MIRU.com, for a summary of BIR's web conventions.

 

 

Tsuyoshi Yamashita CEO, Asei Trading Co., Ltd. "About the current situation of the Japan-China plastic recycling market"

Regarding waste plastics, Microplastics were paid attention to between 2018 to 2019. The recycling of waste plastics is going into full swing in Japan? The air pollution in China has been improved and water in European tourist destinations have been purified, Beer has been particularly appetizing owing to the Covid-19. Then, what about plastic recycling?

 

It is true that plastic recycling, especially material recycling, is gradually being cultivated in Japan, but it is still relying on exports to China.

 

Meanwhile, China was able to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic to some extent. Asei has already resumed exports to China since March. However, the price of virgin plastic is overwhelming low dragged by the plunge in crude oil price. Therefore, regenerated pellets have dropped as well like a coin earner. On the other hand, the factories in China is in operation and orders for recycled plastic have been placed .

 

Since the China’s import ban on of waste plastics in 2017, they mainly went to Southeast Asia, but it halted due to Covid-19 turmoil. I hear that Vietnam has started; it is not likely to be expected for Southeast Asia at this time.

 

In any case, the cheap virgin plastic is a bottle neck for the recyclers. Recycled pellets are buyer-centric market. It is not accepted if something impurities is mixed even a little.

 

Preprocessing is a major bottleneck for manufacturing recycled pellets manufacturing in Japan. Given such low price of virgin plastic, it will not progress easily. Thus, not a few Chinese plastic recyclers, entered in Japanese market, are seems to withdraw after China Shock; import ban of waste plastic in 2017. Nevertheless, some Chinese recyclers, entered Japan a long time ago and have turned into pellet processing since 2018, which has been doing pellet processing since 2018, continue collecting, production and regeneration of waste plastic in Japan.

 

 

Mr. Masanobu Kaneshiro, CEO Kaneshiro Sangyou (Chairman of Association of Certified Recyclers in Small Electrical and Electric Equipment)

“About the current state of small home appliance recycling"

With the materials provided by the government council and the association of certified recyclers, he gave us an easy-to-understand explanation in PowerPoint. The amount of direct recovery in FY2018 is over 100,000 tons. It has not reached the target of 140,000 tons.

It was an interesting that some local governments withdrew from this group when the "medal project”, that is "Gold medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games from the city mine" was settled down. Dr. Yukiaki Harada, who was familiar with IRRSG was involved in this project.

 

On the other hand, the amount that the certified recyclers directly collect, not through the municipalities, has increased steadily from about 23,000 tons in FY2017 to over 39,000 tons in FY2018. The business collaboration of certified recyclers and corporate efforts could be glimpsed of.

 

Mr. Kaneshiro emphasized the danger of discharging the lithium-ion battery without removing it. If there would be a more beneficial recycling route for lithium-ion batteries, they would naturally remove it, and I (Mr. Tanamachi) asked, "What is your company doing about small-sized household appliances instilled lithium-ion? “He commented, “We carefully removed manually. Not to mention to profitability, lithium-ion batteries sell well and, above all, avoid fire risks and take such actions.”

 

Also, at the Council in May, it was introduced that the draft of the Small Appliance Recycling Law, reviewed every five years was announced. Though I (Mr. Tanamachi) asked to Mr. Kaneshiro, "What was evaluated, and what was dissatisfying? “so he eschewed to make a clear comment because they were not at the final. Many of the participants were certified small appliances, but after 17:00, many of them seemed to be sent off from the meeting all at once. It was my fault to lose the opportunity to discuss this issue deeply.

 

Mr. Hirabayashi, president of Hirabayashi Metals of Okayama, who dared to participate until the end, gave us some valuable comments.

 

First of all, it is expected that 600,000 tons of small household appliances will be generated annually. It is said to be exceeded of the government’s target of 140,000 tons. Also, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work and stay home are intensified, replacement and new purchase of electronic products and electric appliance were proceeded. Thus, many recycled resources including cardboard are accumulated under the state of emergency.

 

I was keenly aware that at this meeting, time management must be prioritized than anything else. Their precious time is devoted to get involved in the discussion. Well-defined planning and operation are kept in mind.

 

Finally, I would like to thank all the speakers and everyone who gave us a few words and comments as their first participation.

 

 

(Kenichi Togawa /Translated By IRUNIVERSE Shiba)

 

 

 

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