Copper Remains High While Oil Prices Rise – 5/12/21


Can You Believe What’s Going On With These Markets?

Well, well, well. That just happened.

Copper markets have hit all-time record highs. Let’s just take a breath and relax for a second while you absorb that.

Recycling keeps metals out of our landfillsWait for it….(breath)…OK let’s get back to business. Copper prices have soared since bottoming out in March of 2020 at around $2.00/lb. We now are approaching copper prices that are trading at $4.79/lb. Many of you throughout the country have seen some of your higher-grade copper prices reaching over $4.00/lb and we could not be happier for you all. 

The commodities markets, from wood to corn to copper, are having tremendous growth. We are a little worried about the beginning talks of recession, as well as material shortages, that could push commodity numbers up higher in the coming months. I read an article the other day that discussed how all commodities, from iron ore to copper, reaching new levels, which we see staying for the foreseeable future.

Quick Numbers

  • $200/ton – Strong steel demand in China during peak construction season pushed iron ore prices above $200 a dry metric ton for the first time this week.
  • $65/barrel – West Texas Intermediate crude-oil prices have advanced 34% to about $65 a barrel, lifting the average price of gasoline at the pump in the U.S. toward $3/gallon.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlights

This week, we wanted to feature a question posed by one of our group members. He asked, “If you could scrap anything in the world, what would it be? No restrictions.” There were a ton of replies to this one, but some of our favorites were: a spaceship, Soloman’s Temple and El Dorado (love this one ????), a UFO, the Statue of Liberty, a cruise ship, and the recent runaway Chinese rocket (another good one ????). If you haven’t already, comment your dream scrap find here.


Featured Question

Question:Has anyone cut open batteries to get the lead out? How hard is it and is there much weight to it?”

Tom: “This is never something that we recommend for a scrap yard or for a scrapper. The acid inside is highly corrosive and unsafe to cut open, if not in the right area. Lead-acid batteries are recycled at facilities that go through extreme regulations to be able to ensure that the lead, the acid, and the plastics are all recycled correctly.”


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Leads The Way ????

With copper leading the way in prices continuing to increase, we have seen shortages of the red metal throughout the world, as well as increased demand. These levels of demand have not been seen in about 15 years and are a very welcome sign. With commodity prices increasing, pent-up demand, and limited supply, we have seen real growth in the overall markets.

On the other side of the scrapper coin, one of the more frightening aspects of increased copper prices is the risk to scrap yards. With increased spending on the same materials from only a few months ago, scrap yard risk has never been higher. This shouldn’t lead to problems, but it will lead to a slight amount of hesitation from the side of a scrap yard.

Aluminum prices are continuing to stay strong with the market showing great signs of demand leading forward. With inflationary rates creeping up, we are continuing to see the price of aluminum going up, and that will affect some of the manufacturing and new product prices. The good news is with those prices going up, you’ll continue to see aluminum and other metals going up, as well.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (5/5 – 5/11):




Amarillo, TX #1 Copper Tubing $3.25/ lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $4.15 / lb
Jacksonville, FL Insulated Copper Wire $0.75 / lb
Tempe, AZ Aluminum Copper Radiators $1.82 / lb
Yazoo City, MS Aluminum Cans  $0.40 / lb
Salina, KS #2 Copper Tubing  $3.20 / lb
Deland, FL Sheet Aluminum $0.35 / lb
Marion, OH 304 Stainless Steel $0.55 / lb
Denver, CO Yellow Brass $2.30/ lb
Salem, AL Sealed Units $0.15 / lb
Dubuque, IA Hard Drive w/ Boards $0.50 / lb
Marshall, MN Lead Batteries $0.15 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Oil Prices Are Rising ????????

For the first time in several months, we have noticed increased prices for iron, with the markets jumping about $30-$40/ton over the last few weeks. With this increase and the increased demand for iron ore, prices have been creeping up. The good news is that many of the furnaces throughout the country are back up and running and a lot of material is staying domestic and getting processed quicker.

One thing that we’re paying very close attention to is the oil market, as prices have continued to rise outside of the pipeline problem happening on the East Coast. Overall we have some oil prices jumping to multi-year highs, which show that not only are people traveling more, but the demand is going to be going up further for oil as time increases throughout 2021. This will be a strong sign for the steel market as prices grow, too.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (5/5 – 5/11):




Burlington, NC Water Heaters  $0.04 / lb
Byhalia, MS Scrap Iron $0.10 / lb
San Marcos, TX Shreddable Steel $0.07 / lb
Tucson, AZ #2 HMS $130 / ton
Kewaskum, WI Rotors $100 / ton
Kendallville, IN #1 Steel $240/ ton
Harrisburg, PA Tin $135 / ton
Athens, GA Cast Iron $8 / CWT
Shreveport, LA Shred/Tin $5.50 / CWT
Cambridge, Ontario* Shreddable Steel $255/ ton
North Bay, Ontario* #1 HMS $290 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Stainless steel and nickel prices have started to increase as the market shows signs of the aerospace industry picking back up. On top of that, manufacturers are looking for alternative metals to use in place of aluminum and copper, thus the nickel market being talked about heavily. We could see stainless steel prices increasing in the second half of this year by at least 15%.

Tin solder has had an increased demand as semiconductor chips are getting soldered to more motherboards in electronics than ever. The metal tin is used in these soldering applications and we have seen the prices going up, as well.

Catalytic Converter Market News



Cats Are Steadying ➖

The prices have remained steady over the last week, with the markets relatively unchanged, with no more than a 3% increase or decrease on all three base metals for the catalytic converter market.

One thing that we have seen is an increased number of articles talking about catalytic converter theft and we suggest that when you go to sell your catalytic converters, that you’re always working with solid buyers such as RRCats gives you the ability to sell your cats for fair prices and committed to doing things the right way, so you don’t have any problems and you have receipts for your transactions.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (5/5 – 5/11):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $550/@
GD3 $900/@
JSH62 $523/ @
12606389 $490 /@
25130440 $400/ @
Small Foreign $146/ @
Regular Domestic $230/ @


Thank You.

It is a very special time in the scrap metal world currently, as these prices continue to grow every single week. With copper prices continuing to increase, we will monitor and tell you all of the information that we think that you need to know that helps you learn more about the markets overall. Let us know your thoughts and share any ideas that we could provide to help you make more money with your scrap.

– Tom

Related Articles:

*Canadian Dollar