Copper Shooting For The Moon, Still Pushing 10-Year Highs – 5/5/21


Can It Go Higher? ????

Copper prices continue to be the headline, however, we have heard a lot of news about wood recently, and we’ll talk more about that later. With copper prices rising and worldwide demand increasing, we won’t be surprised to see a quick decrease or a fast increase up to $5/lb. within months, if not weeks. At the same time, different economic indicators are saying that this substantial rise in all commodity prices could be short-lived, with a potential crash in the markets coming in the coming months.

Suggested Reading: Copper Hits $4.00 & Reaching For All-Time Highs

Steel has been a metal that we have not seen a large increase on in pricing and one of the primary reasons for this has been that many countries in the Middle East that would typically be receiving this material are having big problems with the Covid upticks; it’s affecting the market overall.

Quick Numbers

  • $442 Billion – Semiconductors are a $442 billion industry and that makes it bigger than dozens of countries in the world as a stand-alone product. 
  • 13% – Total semiconductor unit shipments are expected to increase 13% this year; that means more metal will be needed.
  • $5.00- Many believe we will see $5/lb copper this year. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Similar to last week’s post, how would you feel if you saw this at your local scrap yard? We found this gem on Reddit and have so many questions… Where is this? How did they make it? And where can I get one? ???? Have you seen anything this epic at your local yard before?

This week in Scrap Metal Recycling Talk, we are asking the question: what scrap yard do you go to? Do you base it on the best price no matter what? Closest scrap yard no matter what? A combination of the two? Make sure to tell us here and join a group of over 10.2k scrappers ???? We’ve already gotten so much good feedback from other scrappers and we want to hear what you have to say, as well!


Featured Question

Question: “Why are copper prices, like where I am in Kentucky, so much lower than places like Texas and where you are [NJ]? Our bare bright is $2.60/ lb.”

Tom: “It sounds like one of two problems: 1) The scrap yard doesn’t like to get aggressive and keeps their prices lower to have higher profits, or 2) it could be a very small yard that doesn’t move material often and doesn’t get strong prices themselves.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Hitting All-Time Highs

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite metal, zinc. Just joking, let’s talk about copper. How could we not with prices almost hitting all-time record highs? One thing that you have to keep in mind is that the record highs that we’re going to hit shortly could be any day or within weeks. But remember, they’re not going to be as real as the highs from 10 years ago because of the influx of money in the overall economy.

All of the stimulus money that was printed over the last 16 months is artificially increasing many of the prices and that has to be noted while looking at the prices of copper today…that being said, does anyone really care?

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (4/28 – 5/4):




Woodinville, WA #2 Copper Tubing  $3.52 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $4.00 / lb
Missoula, MT Car/Truck Batteries  $0.15 / lb
Lincoln, NE Aluminum Cans  $0.57 / lb
Florence, KY #1 Romex® Wire  $1.00 / lb
Alvin, TX Brass $2.40 / lb
Salina, KS Insulated Copper Wire $1.32 / lb
Chalmette, LA Aluminum Copper Coil $1.40 / lb
Hayward, CA Stainless Steel $0.53/ lb 
Zanesville, OH Aluminum Siding  $0.45 / lb
Durham, NC Copper Yokes  $0.40 / lb
Victoria, British Columbia* #1 Copper Tubing  $4.60 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Struggle Bus for Steel

Many believe that the price of steel will rebound in the second half of this year while continuing to stay stagnant going into the summer. While we want to see the price increasing, we are very happy with the overall market, as global problems in shipping have become one of the bigger dilemmas that we have seen in the steel industry.

The good part about that is that more material is staying inside of the country and not getting exported, so we don’t have to have some increased prices due to tariffs that are still in place from the Trump Administration. But the domestic mills know that the export market is much weaker and they are not going to up the prices like crazy until United States manufacturing is running out of supply (which does not seem to be happening right now). There was such a large build-up from 2020’s frustrating year that steel suppliers were able to extend production and have a lot of material in stock going into 2021.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (4/28 – 5/4)):




San Jose, CA Light Iron $120 / ton
Deland, FL Shreddable Steel $0.07 / lb
Tempe, AZ Cast Iron  $135 / ton
Harrisburg, PA Tin $135 / ton
Amery, WI Complete Car  $110 / ton
San Antonia, TX #1 Prepared $0.09 / lb
Birmingham, AL #2 Prepared $9.00 / CWT
Ellaville, GA  Scrap Iron $0.06 / lb 
Springfield, MO Clean Auto Cast $240 / NT 
Chattanooga, TN Long Iron/ #2 HMS Unprepared $7.50 / CWT
Anderson, SC  #2 Prepared $6.50 / CWT

Other Metal Markets

Aluminum prices have continued to rally with markets increasing another $0.02-$0.03/lb on average for all aluminum grades over the last week. We have seen aluminum cans increase in pricing as multiple vendors are having shortages at their factories to produce new material. Again, these are great problems to have because it’s going to continue to force the price of aluminum upward going into the rest of the second quarter and possibly all of 2021.

One thing to keep in mind with these high scrap prices is that the other side of things is going to become expensive, as well. New goods, such as refrigerators and cars, are going to have increased pricing due to commodity prices increasing at the same time. To every action, there’s another reaction, and this is going to be one of the things that we struggle with going into the rest of the year.

Catalytic Converter Market News



With the price of palladium continuing to climb, we’re almost going to see a market top of $3,000 per ounce. These markets are going to continue to grow as supply is tight and demand is continuing to skyrocket. Rhodium prices have remained around $28,000 per ounce and overall, the markets are at a good point if you look at it compared to this time last year.

When want to learn about markets, who do you turn to? If you’re looking to learn about physics, maybe you’ll look into Albert Einstein, or if you’re looking to learn about baseball maybe you’ll look at Babe Ruth. 

When you are looking to learn about catalytic converter prices, why would you turn to anyone except The team over there is constantly updating prices online, teaching people about what to look for in the world of catalytic converters, all while sharing information on to make more money with your cat scrap. ????

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (4/28 – 5/4)):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $528/@
GD3 $900/@
JSH62 $543/ @
12606389 $503 /@
25130440 $417/ @
Small Foreign $149/ @
Regular Domestic $232/ @


Thank You.

With the markets continuing to climb and staying strong, we are happy to answer your questions, as well as help you learn about how to make more money with your scrap. Please let us know if you need us to do anything to help and until next week…we will Scrap You Later

– Tom

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