Copper Is Soaring, So Is Steel – 12/2/20


A Merry Welcome December!

We hope that many of you enjoyed a very nice and quiet Thanksgiving and secretly in the background you were being given an early holiday gift. Not only do we have the vaccinations beginning to get distributed in the coming weeks, but we have multi-year highs on copper. We have seen copper prices climbing about 50% since bottoming out back in March 2020 and now have seen reporting prices for stripped copper wire as high as three dollars per pound.

On top of that, we have seen the possibility of another stimulus which could mean a faster economic recovery going into the holiday season. We’ve also seen oil prices jumping a little bit because they had such a strong month of November, we saw the price of oil go up and now we see the price of iron and steel going higher, as well.

Quick Numbers

  • 4.8% – Gold fell 4.8% last week. 
  • 60% – Copper has risen over 60% since bottoming out in the middle of March 2020. 

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

Help. Everyone needs a little guidance or help sometimes and that is a good thing. This week iScrapper David E. asked everyone about advice on reselling a lead piece or scrapping as-is. While both are right answers it was nice to be able to see a great bit of dialogue and advice. And THAT is what the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk group is all about. 


Non-Ferrous Market News

???? Copper Is Soaring

Sometimes, you have to rub your eyes to make sure you’re not seeing a mirage. Seeing the price of copper jumping so much in the last few weeks and overall in 2020 has been almost shocking. After seeing the copper market bottom out during the month of March, much like many other commodities did, we have seen an incredible recovery. With copper prices trading well above $3.00/lb we have even read multiple reports talking about copper going as high as $4.00/lb on the trading level.

One thing that is not always talked about is how the scrap yards are able to sell some of their loads of copper depending on where the market is and how quickly they can move it. Going into the end of any year can be frustrating, as it becomes harder for larger operations to move the material. On top of that, you have extremely high price jumps which make your regular spreads become wider.

What does that mean for scrappers? It means that while you are going to get more money per pound for your material when you look at some of the prices historically compared to today there might be a larger difference in pricing and that would be because of the current large and quick increase in copper prices. Remember what we say all the time, slow and steady is much better than fast and quick.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (11/25 – 12/01):




Hesperia, CA Aluminum Rims $0.30 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.85 / lb
Cheektowaga, NY Wire Scrap $0.50 / lb
St. Cloud, MN Brass $1.59 / lb
Seattle, WA Insulated Aluminum Wire $0.21 / lb
West Palm Beach, FL 304 Stainless Steel $0.28 / lb
Sherman, MS ACR Dirty $1.00 / lb
Dafter, MI #1 Copper Tubing $2.35 / lb
Dover, DE #2 Copper Tubing $2.25 / lb
Chesapeake, VA Aluminum Cans $0.36 / lb
East Hardin, IL Magnesium $0.10 / lb
Cameron, MO Large GM Cat $75.00 /@

Ferrous Market News

???? Steel Prices Are Climbing Too

With an uptick in the oil prices during the month of November, we saw an increase in the iron and steel markets going into the month of December. We saw the markets climbing anywhere from $5 to $10 per ton over the last few weeks going into December, which is traditionally a slower trading month. On top of that, we have multiple good pieces of news as well as an election which will be changing different economic factors over the coming months.

Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

More importantly, we have seen the overseas demand for steel starting to pick up which will help some of the prices, as well. One of the big problems at the end of the year is generally having many larger operations and yards with a lot of material that they are looking to move to be able to liquidate the inventory and many of the domestic steel buyers will take their foot off the gas to prevent the possibility of an oversupply.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (11/25 – 12/01):




Rochester, NH Light Iron $0.05 /lb
Detroit, MI Shreddable Steel $0.06 /lb
Omaha, NE Automobiles $150 /ton
Aurora, IL Sheet Iron $100 /ton
Elmsford, NY Structural Steel $4.70 /CW
Waukesha, WI Shreddable Steel $125 /ton
Brighton, IL Prepared Iron $145 /ton
Huntington, WV Short Iron $7.50 /CW
Parkin, AR Complete Car $120 /ton
Prestonsburg, KY #1 Steel $8.50 /CW
London, Ontario* Complete Car $165 /ton

Other Metal Markets

The trading levels for aluminum have reached multi-year highs, as we have continued to see strong demand for the white metal. On top of that, we have seen an uptick in manufacturing inside of the United States over the last few months, as well as across the world during that same time. We have not seen as much of an increase in the stainless steel market or the battery market but we have seen relatively calm price levels.

Catalytic Converter Market News



You probably have heard the phrase “if something is not broken then don’t fix it”.  But we like to share information that could help you not only make more money but learn about other materials that you can cash in on. The catalytic converter market has become a very talked-about subject in the last year, as prices have increased due to more demand in the palladium, platinum, and rhodium markets.

The team over at has been quoting fellow scrappers such as yourself on their catalytic converters by using both serial codes, as well as pictures when serial numbers are not available. By finding an online trusted partner that you can sell your catalytic converters to creates more stability and much more steady pricing as so many people try to just wing it by showing up to your facility with an unmarked van. On top of that, many scrap yards don’t have a firm grasp on catalytic converter‘s and by working with someone that specializes in them and can provide you feedback, as well as instructional information, it will give you the ability to make more money off of your hard work with your catalytic converter‘s.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (11/25 – 12/01):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $360/@
GD3 $598/@
JSH62 $305 / @
12606389 $315 /@
25130440 $241/ @
Small Foreign $112/ @
Regular Domestic $203/ @

Thank You.

Going into the last month of 2020 we always want to be able to thank you for all the opportunities that we have had to share more information about the scrap metal market with you, and at the same time thank you for all the feedback that you have provided to us. We have continued to try to update our information, upgrade our notifications and provide you with more up-to-date information on different scrap metal pricing. We always love hearing your stories and your criticism, as it helps us learn what you’re looking for, as well as how we can help you make more money with your scrap.

– Tom

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*Canadian Dollar