|Country of Turkey tops the list of U.S. scrap metal consumers
As China’s once voracious appetite for scrap metal has moderated, Turkey’s has sharply increased. As a result, the country of 74 million has become the world’s largest consumer of scrap metal from U.S. recyclers. Turkey’s consumption of more than 5.6 million tonnes – each tonne equals 1.1 tons or 2,205 lbs. – of U.S. ferrous scrap during 2011 was up 29.2 percent from less than 4.4 million tonnes (4.8 million tons) in 2010, according to a report by American Metal Markets.
As recently as 2009, the picture was very different. With 24.6 tons of scrap metal exported that year, the U.S. was the world’s dominant supplier, producing almost as much as the total of the next two on the list, namely, the European Union with 16.8 million tons and Japan with 10.3 million tons. While in 2009 Turkey was already the top purchaser of EU-sourced scrap metal, consuming a robust 8.3 million tons, it was well behind China when it came to taking U.S. scrap.
In that year, China imported 6.8 million tons of U.S. scrap metal. Turkey was well behind in second at 4.1 million tons, closely followed by South Korea with 3.4 million tons. Taiwan, with 2.4 million tons and India, 1.1 million tons, rounded out the top 5 purchasers of U.S. scrap.
Turkey is headed for a 2012 repeat as the largest offshore buyer of U.S. ferrous scrap, with nearly 1 million tons purchased in the year’s first 2 months. That was up more than 60 percent from Turkey’s take during the same period in 2011. ...read more
Inexpensive natural gas spells trouble for future of alternative energy subsidies
Low prices for natural gas and uncertainty about continuation of federal subsidies is spelling trouble for the future of alternative energy. Recyclers could be affected because of, among other things, the industry’s ties to alternative energy through natural gas-fueled vehicle fleets and projects to burn landfill bio-gas to generate electricity.
The alternative energy industry, which generates power from solar, wind, biofuel, geothermal and other energy sources, has been in a challenging period of late. Perhaps the clearest evidence is the recent history of prices investors pay to own shares of companies in the business. The Ardour Global Alternative Energy Index, which tracks the performance of investments in public companies in the alternative energy industry, is valued today about where it was three years ago, while values in the overall stock market have more than doubled during that period.
One of the biggest reasons for alternative energy’s stagnation is a historic drop in natural gas prices. The discovery of huge fields of natural gas in the U.S., along with the development of new techniques to extract the gas, has caused the price of natural gas to hit all-time lows, especially in comparison to other fuels. ...read more