Copper Still Rising, So Is Aluminum – 3/3/21


Eyes Open! Copper Up!

Let’s just take a minute to enjoy what we have talked about over the last few years and that is a run-up on copper prices. Everyone always says how they want copper to go up and here we are in the middle of the copper prices increasing and it’s nice to just take a minute to soak it all in. Now let’s get down to why and what is going to happen moving forward.

We’ve talked to many people who said that 2020 was supposed to be a roaring year financially, as unemployment was low and optimism was high. After the pandemic took place and everything got drawn down people were worried about the rebound in the economy. As soon as we started to see commodity prices rising in the fourth quarter of 2020, we started to see something happening. Here we are a little over two months into 2021 and not only has copper risen, but we’ve also seen metal prices across the board increase.

Like any company that wants to project its future growth, we try to project coppers growth in the coming weeks, months, and years. We will dive into that a little later.

Quick Numbers

  • 55% – The Chinese are buying 55% of the world’s copper. 
  • 8 Years – Copper Inventories are at 8-year lows. 
  • 15% – Copper prices went up 15% in the month of February for the highest monthly gain since November 2016. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

This week we saw how many pieces of scrap there are out there and how many different pieces there could be! iScrapper Andy H. showed us a train that he got in scrap, but it looks to be more manufactured and scrap-homemade. Still a neat find- thanks for sharing Andy!


Non-Ferrous Market News

????  Aluminum Is Continuing To Climb

With aluminum prices continuing to climb, we have seen the price of aluminum really having a steady increase this year. While aluminum prices have always lagged behind in their growth patterns, with the tariffs in place we really saw them get hammered the last couple of years. Now with demand up for increased fuel efficiency, new electric vehicles being built, and the manufacturing industry getting back up and running in the United States, as well as across the world, we have seen aluminum prices rising to nice highs. 

✈️  Aerospace Is Affecting Scrap Prices

One of the things that we saw really brutalized throughout covid was the aerospace industry. This industry relies heavily on materials like titanium, Inconel, and other nickel-based products. Since fewer people have been flying and companies have been canceling or slowing down plane orders, we were worried about the nickel industry moving forward. In the last few months, we have seen the price of nickel increase between 50-60%, and a lot of the fear is starting to disappear. On top of vaccinations rolling out, we are also starting to hear about people wanting to travel the second half of this year and we expect the aviation industry to have a big pick up over the next few years and this will lead to more stable stainless steel prices overall.

????  Wait…what about copper?

While we always migrate and find ourselves talking about copper, we want everyone to remember that copper prices change more than most because of how common copper is in your everyday life. A lot of people think about copper as just a stripped copper wire, but not inside of the conductors and smaller electronics that we use every day. Copper continues to be heavily traded both commercially and in the residential sector and that’s what drives many of the large and small price changes.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (02/24 – 03/02):




Hayward, CA Brass $2.00 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.72 / lb
Portland, OR Copper Transformer $0.35 / lb
Albany, NY Clean Brass Radiators $1.53 / lb
Cleveland, OH Zinc $0.25 / lb
Decatur, AL Carbide $5.00 / lb
Manchester, NH #2 Copper Tubing $3.05 / lb
Dekalb, IL #1 Copper Tubing $3.40 / lb
Hammond, LA Insulated Copper Wire $0.50 / lb
Oshkosh, WI Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb
Waterloo, NY THHN Wire $1.15 / lb
Seattle, WA Stainless Steel $0.40 / lb

Ferrous Market News

????  Demand For Steel Is Higher

With iron ore prices continuing to remain high, we have seen steel prices having a nice increase, as well. The market for steel has continued to go up, as we have seen overall industrial demand picking up. These market upswings that we have seen recently looked to be climbing with the potential of another $40-$50 per ton being added by the end of this month or going into next month.

One of the biggest things that we look for with steel prices has to do with the pricing on oil. With oil prices continuing to climb to levels we haven’t seen since pre-pandemic, we have seen steel prices rise as well. We also are seeing the overseas exporting of iron and steel scrap increasing, as other countries are lifting multiple restrictions.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (02/24 – 03/02):




Weatherford, TX Tin $180 /ton
Jefferson City, MO Scrap Iron $100 /ton
Osgood, IN Light Iron $150 /ton
Haddon Twp., NJ #1 HMS $0.12 /lb
Boone, IA Unprepared Cast Iron $0.05 /lb
Peoria, IL Rotors $190 /ton
Sturgis, MI Shreddable Steel $135 /ton
Inver Grove Heights, MN  #1 Prepared Steel $205 /ton
Hartly, DE Automobiles $7.50 /CW
Kingsport, TN Cast Iron $5.00 /CW
North Bay, Ontario* Tin $200 /ton

Metal of the Month: Brass

With increases of 16% on copper prices in the month of February, we saw large gains in the brass markets, as well. A lot of people ask about the differences between brass vs. bronze and where they can find trading prices online. Well, we have talked in the past about the difference between metals and alloys, and with brass being an alloy it is heavily dependent on the copper and zinc price markets. 

Higher copper prices mean that brass increases in price as well, but if copper goes up $0.10, you should expect brass to go up half of that price (or a little less). i.e. If copper goes up from $2.00/lb to $2.10/lb, brass may go from $1.30/lb to $1.35/lb, so brass will only increase by $0.05/lb.

Catalytic Converter Market News



All-time high. Those are words that we almost always want to hear unless it refers to a few touchy subjects like debt. We have seen rhodium climbing day over day and hitting all-time record prices over the last six trading days multiple different times. That means that the pricing of catalytic converters has also hit all-time record highs with rhodium prices fast approaching $30,000 per ounce.

The other two metals, platinum and palladium have seen decreases over the last few weeks as different demands in the high-temperature alloy industry have slowed some of the purchases of these metals. But as rhodium has gone up, we have seen the overall average for catalytic converters increasing week over week in 2021.

The team at is always looking to buy your catalytic converters regardless if the market is up or if the market is down. With prices being held for seven business days at a time and with most quotes including free shipping labels, why not try using a new consistent and steady catalytic converter buyer today.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (02/24 – 03/02):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $500/@
GD3 $755/@
JSH62 $414 / @
12606389 $401 /@
25130440 $368/ @
Small Foreign $143/ @
Regular Domestic $227/ @


Thank You.

There’s a lot of stuff going on all over the financial world and the metals markets. We want to hear what you are thinking about and how we can help cater our weekly reports to help you make more money with your materials. Please reach out to us and let us know what more we can do, until next week I’ll scrap you later.

– Tom

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