Strong growth in aluminium scrap exports from the EU

11.04.2017 − 

Following a decline in 2015, exports of non-ferrous scrap metals from the EU increased again in 2016 with the exception of copper scrap. In particular aluminium scrap shipments from the EU member states to non-EU countries were on the rise, according to preliminary figures released by the EU statistics office Eurostat. EU exports of lead, zinc, tin, nickel and magnesium scrap increased, too, while copper scrap exports declined for the fifth year in a row.

According to the Eurostat data, the 28 EU member states exported about 941,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap with a total value of €1.07bn to countries outside the EU (third countries) last year. This is a 10 per cent increase compared to the year before, when 858,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap valued at €1.11bn left the EU. Shipments to China and the special administrative zone Hong Kong, in particular, recorded strong growth, rising from a combined 337,000 tonnes in the year 2015 to 393,000 tonnes last year. EU exports to Pakistan at 70,000 tonnes were also significantly higher the previous year’s level of 59,000 tonnes.

Copper scrap exported from the EU was again mainly destined for China and Hong Kong. However, the amount shipped of 794,000 tonnes was 2.5 per cent lower than the previous year’s total of 815,000 tonnes. With imports of 79,000 tonnes, India, too, purchased a lower amount of copper scrap from the EU than in 2015, when deliveries stood at 83,000 tonnes. Overall, the EU exported 986,000 tonnes of copper scrap with a value of €1.91bn to third countries in 2016, compared to 1.01 million tonnes valued at €2.30bn in the year before.

The EU28’s lead scrap exports stood at 39,000 tonnes valued at €29m last year. This is an increase by a third in terms of the tonnage compared to the 2015 amount of 30,000 tonnes valued at €36m. The main destinations in 2016 were India (19,700 tonnes), China (6,800 tonnes), Norway (3,600 tonnes), Pakistan (3,500 tonnes) and Bangladesh (2,900 tonnes).

The Eurostat data on imports of non-ferrous scrap metals into the EU show a decline by 11 per cent in the amount of copper scrap received from third countries last year to 414,000 tonnes (value: €1.41bn). The EU’s imports of aluminium scrap increased 13 per cent to 404,000 tonnes (value: €471m), while lead scrap imports were 26 per cent higher at 45,000 tonnes (value: €53m).

The EU's net international trade balance for aluminium scrap in 2016 is an export surplus of about 572,000 tonnes, up from 541,000 tonnes in the year before. Copper scrap registered an export surplus of 537,000 tonnes last year, compared to 500,000 tonnes in 2015.

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