- Exports of recovered plastics, ferrous metal, and aluminum have all continued along a downward slide in early 2016, but paper exports have shown an increase of 6%, as reported in Resource Recycling.
- The most dramatic decline was in ferrous scrap with 552,000 metric tons of exports in January 2016, representing a 47% drop from January 2015.
- For plastics and aluminum, January 2016 figures showed the following: 265.79 million pounds of plastics exports (13% decrease from the previous January), and 217.2 million pounds of aluminum scrap exports (5.9% decrease from the first month of 2015).
In reading between the lines, one may see more than just dips or increases across the board for these commodities.
For instance, while plastic exports have been down, the material's weighted value rose by 3.9% from December 2015 into January 2016. But in looking back over a year, the numbers tell a different story; the value by weight dropped a substantial 12.7%. In most cases there are fluctuations that are representative of the ongoing market volatility over time.
Ferrous metal does seem to continue along the same pattern; it’s just decreasing and for an extended period, plummeting as much as 25% in one month late last year. Analysts had discussed that if the dollar's value declines, exports could rebound as much as 8.5% in 2016—a situation that has not yet happened.
It is hoped that the recent spike in paper exports over the entire year will be a sign of returned stability, though the weighted average price this past January showed a decline year-over-year by 0.7%.