South Africa to investigate scrap metal shortage hurting industry

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 (Reuters) - The South African government will investigate a shortage of scrap metals which is hurting the country’s manufacturing and processing sectors, the trade ministry said on Friday.

Minister Ebrahim Patel called on the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) to explore measures which could help support the metals industry suffering from price increases for scrap.

“The downturn in global manufacturing resulting from COVID-19 has led to the amount of scrap metal available locally and internationally being dramatically reduced,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“Due to the steep global increase in prices and reduced economic activity, the industry has called on government to assist it urgently.”

The scrap metal industry contributes 15 billion Rand ($878 million) to GDP and employs about 350,000 people, the ministry said.

The construction, mining, and transport equipment manufacturing industries are the biggest consumers of metal products. They together account for about 15% of South Africa’s GDP. ($1 = 17 rand) (Reporting by Helen Reid)