7/25/18 Scrap Price Report: Copper Dropped 20% In 6 Weeks

Best way to explain this scrap metal market? Pulling all of the THHN out of the Steel BX while knowing it will act like a Chinese finger trap and frustration will ensue?!?! Well, that’s exactly how we feel with the way that this market has been going the last few weeks and could continue for the next few months.

While copper has risen the last few days, overall we still see many weak signs in the market the rest of the summer…as well as for the rest of the year. Not only have we seen the copper prices continue to slip (which many investors use a primary gauge on how the market is going, touch on that later), but steel prices have slipped as well. Let’s get into it…

Non-Ferrous Scrap Markets

Copper continues to be the bearer of bad news even though the markets have a small uptake of $0.03-$0.04 per pound over the last week. Many investors look at copper is when the primary factors and how the economy is going. If you think about it, copper is used in so many things from cars to electronics analyst continues to go on not even touching on the building sector. With copper prices decreasing over 20% and the last six weeks, a lot of investors and strategists have a lot of concern for the rest of the year. 

Of course, everyone will continue to ask if this has anything to do with the tariff war that is going on, and the answer is yes. Until China and the United States have a good sitdown meeting which could take several months of multiple meetings, we will continue to see copper in a weak position.

Suggested Reading: What Are Metal Tariffs & How Will They Affect Scrap?

Items like electric motors, CBM, low grade copper wire, and sealed units are going to be in for a very rude awakening with many predicting that the prices of these items will become cheaper than steel. While many of you will say that you will just put your motors in with your steel piles if that is the case, many scrapyards will become very strict because when they go to sell to offshore buyers, and local domestic shredding operations those operations will rejected their piles if motors are inside. Strap on your big boy pants because were about to be in for a big ride.

Suggested Reading: Could Electric Motor Prices Drop As Low As Steel?

Reported Non-Ferrous scrap prices (7/18 – 7/24):




Millville, NJ Car/Truck Batteries $0.15/lb.
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.47/lb.
Florence, AL Brass Scrap $1.50/lb.
Indio, CA Cast Aluminum $0.32/lb.
Havelock, NC #1 Flashing Copper $2.00/lb.
St. Louis, MO #1 copper tubing $2.25/lb.
Indianapolis, IN 17-4 Stainless Steel $0.15/lb.
Hornell, NY Aluminum Rims $0.46/lb.
Bismarck, ND #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.25/lb.
Bunnell, FL #2/3 Mixed Copper $1.75/lb.
Winston-Salem, NC Car/Truck Batteries $0.23/lb.
Billings, MT  Stainless Steel Breakage $0.10/lb.
Sterling Heights, MI Ballasts $0.10/lb.

Ferrous Scrap Markets

Steel has continued to weaken over the last week with the overall market reporting $15 per ton down on most grades of light and heavy metal. This has to do with multiple factors including copper, gas prices, and the overall concern on where the markets should or could be headed for the rest of this year.

Oil continues to dip down and production seems to be increasing, and while that is great for the gas pumps…it will be affecting steel prices.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Yards Have Weight Requirements For Steel?

Reported Ferrous scrap prices (7/18 – 7/24):




Elizabethtown, KY Shreddable Steel $140.00/ton
Steubenville, OH Light Iron $160.00/ton
Elk City, OK Shreddable Steel $80.00/ton
Columbus, NE Shreddable Steel $175.00/ton
Aberdeen, WA Light Iron $110.00/ton
Temple, PA Cast Iron $0.065/lb.
Gilette, WY Light Iron $35.00/ton
Mobile, AL #2 HMS $0.04/lb.
Brownwood, TX  #1 Steel $0.04/lb.

Other Scrap Markets

The electronics market continues to be a very talked about the market because people don’t know where the recycling side of things are going. It seems that more of the resale and reuse of products is the primary target of larger electronic recyclers, which leaves a lot of scrappers in a bit of a pickle on how and where to sell their material.

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