Brass - assessment of the current situation on the brass scrap market

Brass - assessment of the current situation on the brass scrap market

After copper, brass is one of the most expensive and yet frequently occurring raw materials on scrap. The price of brass on scrap is dependent on a number of factors. As it is an alloy of copper and zinc, one would expect that with the change in the price of these raw materials on the LME (London Metal Exchenge) prices of brass at procurement will increase. Unfortunately, this is not always as the market would expect. Analysing the selling prices of brass, a correlation can be observed between the foundries' purchasing formula for brass and the price of raw materials on the LME. The higher the copper price on the LME, the lower the index to which the price of brass at the foundries refers. In contrast, the lower the LME, the higher the index. Such foundry operations mean that brass prices do not react as drastically to fluctuations in LME metal prices as is the case with copper.

The Polish market is dominated by companies operating brass purchaseThese companies are intermediaries who buy brass and export it to Italy, Germany, other European countries and Asia or sell it to Polish foundries which, due to quality requirements and preparation expectations, buy and sell brass. These companies are intermediaries that buy brass and export it to Italy, Germany, other European countries, Asia or sell it to Polish foundries that, due to quality requirements and expectations in terms of material preparation, buy brass from large companies that can prepare the material according to their needs.

Brass prices - current situation

The prices of brass in Italy and Germany about 1.5 years ago were significantly reduced. Italian and German foundries are buying much less brass than in previous years offering much lower prices for brass on the LME than in earlier periods. This has caused brass exports to Italy to virtually die down. As for sales to eastern markets, e.g. Ukraine, there we are also seeing a decline in demand there mainly due to transport problems and reduced internal demand. However, recent weeks show some recovery and the first orders at market prices from Italy and Germany give hope for a change.

When it comes to Asian destinations are still characterised by high demand. Prices in Asia, taking into account rising transport costs, are still attractive compared to the European market. Companies from India, China, Pakistan and other Asian destinations buy every type of scrap, but they are constantly raising their expectations in terms of quality and preparation of the material. The biggest problem with sales to Asia is the issue of transport time (which has been significantly extended by Huti actions in the Red Sea) and waiting for payment. From the point of view of the non-ferrous metals broker, this time can take between three and four months, measured from the purchase of the scrap to the receipt of payment for the goods sold.

The Polish market, on the other hand, is a market of many small foundries and a few larger players and intermediaries. Brass scrap intermediaries often offer the same or higher prices as local foundries. This is due to the economic downturn in Europe, high energy, labour and production costs and the need for foundries to compete on price for the end product with suppliers from Asia, Turkey and elsewhere. In Poland, we are also seeing trends related to changing brass purchasing formulas depending on the LME copper price. This is due to the fact that the majority of the Polish scrap market including brokers speculate and when the LME copper price falls foundries have a problem buying raw materials for production. Then they have to raise the purchase price with respect to the LME to compensate for potential speculation losses from their suppliers.

Brass prices - current situation

Forecasts

In my opinion the situation on the brass market will not change significantly in the coming weeks/months. Despite the war in Ukraine and the widespread knowledge of increased production of ammunition and other equipment for the military, we are not seeing increased demand for brass. Italy, Germany are showing some recovery, but there are no symptoms yet to herald a price battle for the material, which is exported to Asia.
In my opinion, the biggest impact on the price of brass in the Polish scrap metal collection will have a value of PLN. If the zloty weakens (more expensive $) then realistically in zloty terms the price of brass will increase. If the zloty strengthens then the price of brass will fall.