The impact of China restricting scrap imports was felt keenly in the US for much of 2019, which saw an oversupplied market with soft domestic demand and sellers struggling to move metal. Looking ahead, sources said the true significance of China renaming high-purity non-ferrous scrap
as recyclable materials for the US market will be apparent only if it translates to an increase in scrap exports from the US to China.
The US exported 3.17 million tonnes of copper scrap worldwide in 2018 and 2.61 million tonnes of copper scrap in January-November 2019, according to government statistics.
Of that, 1.06 million tonnes of copper scrap went to China in 2018; for the first 11 months of 2019, that number fell to 397,073.055 tonnes.
The effect of an oversupplied market...