Recycling Markets Snapshot - May 2018

15 May 2018

Although China announced they are suspending the inspection process for US material headed to China, from May 4 through June 4, 2018, it did not have a large impact on the commodities we ship.  Mainly, because we export very little material into China anymore.  The continued trade restrictions and bans on the commodities we produce have all but shut the door for us to send recovered materials to them. 

A potential impact is that it will force more materials, mostly grades like OCC and office paper, into the other existing and emerging markets; further inundating the existing capacity and possibly pushing prices down as supply continues to outpace demand for the commodities.  

There were no significant changes in the commodity values for May.  Mixed paper was steady or slightly down in a few of the end markets, while some of the plastic bottle grades were slightly up.  There were rumors of OCC values increasing, but the price ended up holding, possibly based on the announced suspension of inspections for exports to China.  When aggregated, it was essentially a push for the commingle grades (Commercial and Residential). 

The good news is that most commodities had steady movement in April and so far this month as well.  Some of these are trial or limited markets, so there is still uncertainty in the future, but anything helps right now.  Pricing and movement are still inconsistent, and difficult to predict.