Coronavirus crisis hitting plastics recyclers

The waste plastics market is in the grip
of the coronavirus crisis. (representative image)
31.03.2020 − 

The coronavirus crisis will create significant challenges for Germany’s plastic recyclers. Orders from large swaths of industry are drying up, recyclers told EUWID. Liquidity was the top priority at the moment for these companies, most of which are medium-sized enterprises. While the impact of the crisis had not yet been massive in March, the outlook for April and particularly ordering did not bode well for the industry, market players said.

Some film scrap and regrind prices had already fallen sharply in March. A few recyclers had still characterised demand as decent, although this was likely also because advance orders had been placed for April. The outlook became much more sombre later on in March. Orders for April are very poor, mainly according to recyclers who have customers in the automotive industry. ”We are operating with very limited forward visibility and have slashed buying-in prices for regrind and film scrap,” said one recycler, whose opinion was shared by numerous insiders.

Falling oil price adds to the pressure

Plummeting oil prices were also causing pressure in the form of much cheaper primary plastics. However, there are exceptions. For instance, sales were running at full speed in several film applications segments, such as bin bags and packaging. This surge in demand did not lead to higher film scrap prices, though.

In addition, just small amounts were exported outside the EU during March. In Asia, sometimes the only buyers had been a small number of Malaysian facilities. Turkey has apparently scaled back its imports dramatically, too.

The full report on the waste plastics market will appear in the next print and e-paper issue of EUWID Recycling & Waste Management (7/2020) out on 1 April.

Online subscribers can access the report immediately here: Waste Plastics Germany

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