The Nonferrous Division meeting on Sunday, March 20, in Las Vegas resulted in proposals to amend some of the ISRI Specifications to better reflect market realities, as well as an overview of the global economic picture.

After a safety message provided by Kripke Senior Vice President Marvin Finkelstein about the importance of preparing in advance for violent spring weather, the Nonferrous Division discussed three motions to amend the ISRI Specifications.

  • Reels will be amended because nonferrous contents seen by recyclers did not meet the 65% purity requirement, says Andy Cohen, working group chair and vice president of Metal Conversions. “It’s not consistent with what members were seeing in the marketplace,” he states. The amended spec calls for a minimum of 35% aluminum and more than 65% iron in batches.
  • Tall likewise is not meeting recyclers’ needs because they are getting 5X and 6X wires in batches of electrical conductor (EC) aluminum nodules. Customers instead expect to find 1050 and 1350 aluminum alloy. The proposed new Tank spec would consist of aluminum chops and straws, with no EC. The spec would be revised to a higher purity level of 94.5% aluminum.
  • It is proposed to revise the Talon spec to two parts, consisting of EC aluminum wire and cable with 99.45% aluminum content, and aluminum wire and cable with cleanliness of 99%.

The division approved the motions; therefore, the proposed changes will be subject to at least a 20-day public comment period before the ISRI summer board meetings.

Joe Pickard, ISRI’s chief economist and director of commodities, briefed the division on the global trade outlook. While rebounding demand from China is offset by the uncertainties of the war in Ukraine’s impact, U.S. inflation and supply chain woes continue. The Federal Reserve continues to indicate it may raise interest rates as many as six times this year, though Pickard cautions the overall interest rate will barely move above 1%.

“Price pressure is going to continue to come through the supply chain. The recycled commodity prices are far outpacing the inflation we’re seeing in the economy at large,” Pickard states.

He presented charts showing U.S. copper exports for January to China are up 70& year-on-year. The similar figures for Malaysia and India are 50% and 74%, respectively. Copper enjoys a 17% rise in exports year-on-year. Aluminum continues to perform with India, Malaysia, and South Korea as the top three nations buying U.S. exports, although price volatility remains a concern. Nickel far and away is the nonferrous leader, palladium and platinum follow.

All precious and base metals except for lead have been steady in price so far in the first quarter of 2022, Pickard says.

Lauren Schefsky, nonferrous metals analyst with the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, was the division’s guest speaker. She gave a short introduction to the division and stated that she looks forward to working with the industry.

Incoming Chair Brian Shine, CEO of Manitoba Corp., praised outgoing chair and Intrametco trader Chris Gneiding for her leadership of the Nonferrous Division since 2020. “I’m happy for the opportunity [to serve] and in my role as the Executive Committee liaison I got to see [Gneiding] at work. She runs a great meeting and really gets people involved,” Shine says.

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.