ISRI’s Commodity Roundtables Forum is taking take place Sept. 22-24, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. The annual event attracts processors, brokers, traders, and other recycling professionals from around the world.

The international nature of metals trading takes center stage during the copper session at the 2021 Commodity Roundtables. Moderator Brian Shine, president of Manitoba Corp., and ISRI immediate past chair, sums up the copper space: “Copper is doing incredibly well, relative to where it’s been. A lot of that, of course, is due to speculative reasons.” Some in the audience questioned why Comex and London Metal Exchange prices have differed. Panelist Edward Meir, who runs Commodity Research Group, and is a senior independent analyst at ED&F Man Capital Markets, says arbitrage (buying and selling the same security at the same time in different markets as a hedge) is driven by geography and demand, and his firms are studying those patterns.

Panelist Chris Greenfield, vice president of Federal Metal Co., recalls how the March grounding of the giant container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal for six days halted one of his inbound pure bismuth cargoes, which was on the ship behind the Ever Given. “There was no delivery date available,” he recalls. “My calls to warehouses were met with laughs, because they were out [of material] as well.” The metal showed up 60 days late.

After discussing other factors such as labor shortages, container shortages, and countries tightening their import regulations, panelists agreed recycling is more essential than ever. “We really need more recycling. I think that’s going to grow over the years, be it in copper or aluminum, or one area that really needs a lot of recycling, electric vehicle batteries—that’s still in its infancy.” Meir declares. “Simply digging up more copper and nickel and lithium is not going to feed the insatiable projected demand.”

The ISRI 2021 Commodity Roundtables Forum concludes Friday, Sept. 24, with the Aluminum Roundtable.

Photo courtesy of ISRI.



Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.