COVID-19 & Its Effects on Scrap Metal – 3/19/20

Jump To Non-Ferrous Prices


Jump To Ferrous Prices

Well, these are interesting times…

Before any sarcasm or jokes are made we hope that everyone is abiding by the local rules of your states and government, so we can ensure the health and well-being of all Americans and world citizens. With this craziness going on and everyone is involved in one way or another we just hope and pray that we make it through as quickly and health-conscious, as possible.

We hope that many of you were smart enough to invest in stocks like Clorox they have seen massive increases in their price while the rest of us have watched copper, oil, and steel continue to drop down what seems like hourly and not daily at this point. With copper prices falling to lows we have not seen since 2016, we are not excited in any way shape or form, but right now the price of copper seems very trivial compared to the overall scheme of things.

Quick Numbers

  • 31% – Decrease in Platinum pricing this month.
  • 41% – Decrease in Palladium pricing this month.
  • 69% – Decrease in Rhodium pricing this month.
  • $0.77 – Decrease in Copper per pound over the last 45 days going to its lowest levels since 2016.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

We love seeing tools and how scrappers use them out in their daily lives. This week we saw a spotlight of a Milwaukee portable cutter that has made scrapper Justin F. do less work and make more money. Thank you for sharing your copper picture and your tool knowledge.


Non-Ferrous Market News

It’s not often that the market has dropped like we have seen recently yet, here we are in a position with copper prices and other commodities continuing to fall in ways that we have never seen before. But at the same time if you want to turn an optimistic point of view for all of this we have seen an incredible sense of togetherness and optimism for restarting this essentially paused economy by conquering this invisible enemy that is attacking not only the world but the United States, Canada, and all of its citizens.

This week we have seen copper prices falling anywhere from $0.05-0.17 per day and late on Wednesday night we even saw copper drop another $0.20 which it recovered and opened up $0.01 higher than it did at the market close on Wednesday. These are the crazy times that are going to be going on for a while and we just have to deal with them as best we can. We’ve been able to talk to multiple scrapyards and all of them are trying to deal with this as best as possible. The problem for them is the same problem that everyone in every industry is having right now, trying to figure out what the definition of safe is and how quickly they can process and get paid for materials. We’ve talked to some scrap yards they plan on shutting down temporarily. Other scrap yards plan on stopping to buy all material and that will have all types of different implications short term and possibly long-term.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (3/11 – 3/18):




Bunnell, FL 304 Stainless Steel $0.20 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $1.75 / lb
Eau Claire, WI Brass $1.35 / lb
Taylorsville, UT #1 Copper Tubing $1.90 / lb
Kent, WA #2 Copper Tubing $1.60 / lb
Chesapeake, VA Aluminum Siding $0.26 / lb
Amarillo, TX Aluminum Cans $0.15 / lb
Puryear, TN Insulated Copper Wire $0.40 / lb
Sioux Falls, SD Sheet Aluminum $0.20 / lb
Lumberton, NC #2/3 Mix Copper $1.80 / lb
Shaller, IA #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $1.87 / lb
Bowling Green, KY Aluminum 6063 $0.47 / lb

Ferrous Market News

With oil prices continuing to fall, we have seen drops between 5-20% every day and have seen a heavy impact on the iron and steel markets. These impacts will affect us at the gas pump which will be a good thing, but generally, we want to see gas prices at a little bit of a higher level if you want to have higher steel, iron and other non-ferrous commodities increasing.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

We have seen 3 to 4 separate decreases in the market over the last week as people are trying to move material out as quickly as possible. One of the major issues is going to be having the large barges getting shipped overseas, as we don’t know when that could possibly come to a standstill meaning that a lot of the steel and iron that is scrapped will not have anywhere to go.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (3/11 – 3/18):




Chicopee, MA #1 Steel $100 /ton
La Crosse, WI Cast Iron $80 /ton
Tacoma, WA Light Iron $30 /ton
Lorton, VA Shreddable Steel $100 /ton
Tyler, TX #1 Steel $90 /ton
Selmer, TN Cast Iron $80 /ton
Salisbury, NC #2 Heavy Melting Steel $3.75 /cw
Salt Lake City, UT Shreddable Steel $60 /ton
Huron, SD Cast Iron $60 /ton
Pawtucket, RI #1 Steel $40 /ton
Sumter, SC Shreddable Steel $80 /ton

Other Markets

catalytic converters have been the hot item this year…until this week. If you got this far down the blog you already saw that the market was dipping itself down and will not be improving anytime soon. Because of that, we have seen a downturn overall and it has become very tough to be able to see improvement or anything like that.

Thank You.

Please stay inside, stay healthy and safe and make sure that you are listening to the local and national governments while doing so. Scrap ya later!

– Tom

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