Boring Copper Prices Are Actually Good – 4/14/21


Copper is steady… & we can’t complain ????

Needle Me This…

Not to get into the vaccine discussion too much, but think about how much metal was needed for all of those different needles across the country, and the world at that, and then figure out where it all came from. Big thanks to all the scrappers out there.

???? Yawn…Copper has been boring.

For the last few weeks, copper seems to go from being the most talked-about subject to the most boring one. The best news is that it is exactly how we like it to be. Copper prices have barely moved over the last few weeks, with very minor up or downswings, which has shown stability in the market for the first time in months. These are positive signs that we’re happy to see across the industry from traders to scrappers. We always want more, but prices going up to where they right now reflect a nice increase and one that looks like it’s here to stay.

Aluminum continues its epic recovery, prices continuing to climb. It’s to the point where some recycling plants across the country are being overwhelmed with so much material, that there is the possibility of an oversupply coming in the next few months. All of this is exciting information, as there has not been many downsides to the middle industry over the last few weeks.

Quick Numbers

  • 70% – China controls 70% of the rare earth mining. That puts them far ahead of the US when it comes to Lithium mining and battery dependence. 
  • 7% – Predictions that coppers demand will increase 7% this year. Good news for pricing. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Last week we posed the question: What is the most common copper item you get in scrap? Out of 93 pollers, it looks like copper wire/cable was the winner ???? with 67% of polled votes. Bare Bright received a measly 4 votes (yikes).

This week, we want to hear your best scrapping stories or memories (your best finds, biggest hauls, or just a memorable moment) ???????? Click the link here to contribute, and if you’re not already a part of the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk group, what’s taking so long?? Join today! ????


Non-Ferrous Market News

Where do we learn about copper? From all over the country, from all over the world, and from all different types of news outlets. The only way to get a diverse knowledge about what’s going on at the top of the market is to learn from multiple sources, as well as relying on your own intuition. With copper and other metals being not just a United States commodity, but a world commodity, it makes a big difference when it comes to pricing. There are some things that only affect the country call, but there are also other things like commodities and world traded markets, that affect all prices that we have to pay attention to. 

All these markets affect the entire world and are treated not only based on United States demand but worldwide demand, which is something you don’t think about every day. While the United States might be getting more vaccines and lifting restrictions, other countries are still under lockdown which means that they will not need as much material in their manufacturing and will not have as big of a demand, potentially slowing down international markets.

These are all factors that go into different prices that need to be considered.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (04/07 – 04/13):




Summerville, SC Aluminum Cans $0.42 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.50 / lb
Gardiner, NY Mix Copper $3.35 / lb
New Iberia, LA AL/Copper Cutoffs $2.30 / lb
Athens, GA Stainless Steel $0.50 / lb
Otisville, MI AL Extrusion $0.48 / lb
Seattle, WA Pewter $2.00 / lb
Toledo, OH Romex Wire  $2.00 / lb
Brownfield, TX Electric Motors (Copper) $0.04/ lb 
San Jose, CA #1 Copper Tubing $2.80 / lb
Denver, CO Refinery Brass $1.40 / lb
Apopka, FL Lead Batteries-Automotive $0.20/ lb 

Ferrous Market News

Oil prices got a little beat up over the last few weeks, which affected steel, but not in a very significant way. We have seen the decreasing steel markets back in February. Going into March, we saw further declines. Right now, we’ve seen steel prices stabilize over the last few weeks, a breath of fresh air. The steel markets are poised for a large increase in the second half of this year according to multiple reports and that could be due to worldwide economic growth.

People have asked us about the Infrastructure Bill, which we discussed in one of our upcoming podcasts, and how that would affect the steel market. However, we have to look at the markets as a whole and not based solely on infrastructure leading the way. With demand increasing for all types of products, we do expect to see an increase in steel pricing, but it does not look to be poised to increase until the second half of this year.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (04/07 – 04/13):




Lancaster, PA Cast Iron $0.10 / lb
Odessa, TX Complete Car $150 / ton
Hobbs, NM Steel BX $150 / ton
Woodinville, WA Light Iron $105 / ton
Marion, OH Shreddable Steel $160 / ton
Detroit, MI Sheet Iron/Shred  $0.11 / lb 
Pennsauken Twp, NJ Rotors/Drums $0.13 / lb
Richmond, VA Prepared Steel $8.50 / CW
Tulsa, OK #2 Unprepared $145 / NT
North Bay, Ontario* Tin $220 / ton
Brighton, Ontario* Shreddable Steel $275/ ton 

Other Metal Markets

Let’s give you a comparison and see if it sticks. Copper is like bread on the sandwich and aluminum is peanut butter. The two of them always stick together, but you typically always care about how good the bread is because there are so many types of peanut butter. Well, that might not be perfect. Hopefully, it illustrates what’s going on with the aluminum markets a little better. We have seen an epic increase in aluminum prices with markets continuing to hit yearly highs. 

These aluminum markets seem to be increasing every month as manufacturing demand for electronics and automobiles, as well as all types of other equipment, has increased substantially. One thing to think about with the aluminum prices is that so many countries are having a hard time delivering finished products, that people are not even looking at the aluminum smelting facilities and how they have had a hard time keeping up with the manufacturing demand.

Catalytic Converter Market News



Meow. Welcome to this week’s update on the catalytic converter market for the United States. While over-demand and under-supply of material have been what we’ve seen recently, the flooding of catalytic converters into the recycling markets has still not quenched the thirst for platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These three metals seem to be as hot as ever when it comes to pricing, but the demand continues to increase. 

These metals are some of the best in the world at absorbing emissions and helping to create a cleaner and greener future, but they have continued to be hard to come by and fast to leave. Many manufacturing facilities that use these precious metals are having a hard time getting them into their factories, even though demand has helped the increase in prices.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (04/07 – 04/13):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $500/@
GD3 $900/@
JSH62 $475/ @
12606389 $465 /@
25130440 $398/ @
Small Foreign $149/ @
Regular Domestic $232/ @


Thank You.

“If it were easy…then everyone would be doing it.” Scrap is not for everyone, but using the right tools from saws to pricing apps and notifications, will only help you grow and learn. Let us know what other tools provide and we will continue talking about them through podcasts, videos, and other chats.

– Tom

Related Articles:

*Canadian Dollar