How The Coronavirus is Affecting Scrap – 3/4/20

Jump To Non-Ferrous Prices


Jump To Ferrous Prices


This has certainly been a wild ride for the last 2 to 3 weeks and it has not stopped going into this week. We hope everyone has been tuning into our weekly reports and trying to keep their mind straight with a copper market and a stock market having a roller-coaster adventure. With so many people passing away due to the coronavirus and fears of it becoming a plague and spreading to more countries across the world have a large impact on the stock market and the overall commodities market as well, it’s been an interesting couple of weeks, to say the least.

We have seen the stock market have multiple thousand point swings in a single day both up and down. At the same time, you have the coronavirus, you also have political things going on like the Democratic primaries and all of these things add to the instabilities that we have seen in the market overall. If you look at the market as a whole with copper dropping about $0.23 since the beginning of February that is not the worst considering what the stock market has done with these roller coaster events.

Quick Numbers

  • 17% – Amount that oil has dropped this year. Good news at the pump- bad news for iron.
  • 3 – Number of days that we have seen up or downswings in the stock market of more than 1000 points. 

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

While we love seeing pictures of scrap metal- sometimes it is nice to see pictures of non-scrap or items that can be repurposed. This week’s social shout out goes to scrapper James W. who is going to save to get this beautiful old pickup truck. Send us pictures when it is restored!



Non-Ferrous Market News

One of the things that we’ve never talked about here at iScrap during our reports is different supply chains. Now you might look at the copper market and just think that everyone needs it and the prices should be higher but the copper market is dependent on multiple factors. Not only supply and demand, but also the different supply chains to bring copper into different countries and how they’re being used. If you look at the coronavirus and how it is affecting the Chinese markets you’ll see the perfect example of supply chain issues. With so many factories temporarily shutting down and people not going to work as well as barge’s being diverted back to China due to supplies on them the Chinese need, we have seen large issues in multiple settings.

Overall, this has not been the worst 4 to 6 weeks that we have seen in the commodities market, as well as in the copper market specifically. But what we have seen is a reaction to something that was not planned, including tariffs, recessions, or other larger economic issues. This has been based solely on a surprise and overall the copper markets have reacted relatively well.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/26 – 3/3):




Springhill, FL Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.15 / lb
Minneapolis, MN #1 Copper Tubing $2.11 / lb
Whiteville, NC #2 Copper Tubing $1.66 / lb
Warsaw, IN Car/Truck Batteries $0.20 / lb
Springfield, MA Brass $1.06 / lb
Bowling Green, KY Electric Motors (Copper) $0.11 / lb
Alburquerque, NM Insulated Copper Wire $0.40 / lb
Green Bay, WI ACR $1.03 / lb
Iuka, MI Romex® Wire $0.40 / lb
Puryear, TN Zinc $0.05 / lb
Rochester, NY THHN Wire $0.97 / lb

Ferrous Market News

With a weakening market coming into the next few weeks and possibly into April because of the supply chain upsetting issues in China which will send a domino effect throughout the world, we have been watching the steel prices closely. It does not look to be anything extremely positive or extremely negative. With oil prices dropping 17% since the beginning of this year it makes it a little more difficult to see any large increase in the steel prices.

One thing that we have seen is that when we talked other scrapyards the flow into their yards has slowed down but not to the extent that they thought it would. With many in the Northeast having a relatively mild winter there’s been a massive amount of work that normally would not get done and we have not seen a large buildup or stockpile from demolition jobs or from scrap yards having to move snow instead of moving iron.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/26 – 3/3):




Marshalltown, IA #1 Steel $120 /ton
Cincinnati, OH Light Iron $80 /ton
Wilmington, NC Cast Iron $65 /ton
Niagara, NY Shreddable Steel $110 /ton
Vineland, NJ #1 Heavy Melting Steel $60 /ton
Hollister, MO Complete Car $0.03 /lb
Colchester, VT #2 Prepared $60 /ton
Santa Fe, NM Cast Iron $90 /ton
New Cambria, KS Shreddable Steel $90 /ton
Columbus, NE Light Iron $100 /ton
Columbus, MS #1 Steel $150 /ton

Other Markets

You can’t be surprised when we start to talk about the catalytic converter prices seeing a bit of a pullback the last week or so. Platinum dropping about 15%, Rhodium dropping around 7% and Palladium dropping around 3%, these three base metals for the catalytic converter markets were on such a run beginning of 2020 that we are not surprised with this in the least. If you’re looking to learn more about the pricing on your catalytic converter’s please go to our sister company today to learn more about pricing, grading and the ability to sort and sell your catalytic converters properly.


Thank You.

There are so many things going on right now that will affect the markets from the coronavirus to the Democratic primaries to the large swings in the stock market that we are continuing to watch day-to-day to see what type of reaction or counter-reaction that we will see in the market or news that strikes overnight. We appreciate your feedback and we look forward to reading your comments through our social media pages, as well as different emails that you sent to us.

– Tom

Become a Patron!

Related Articles:

*Canadian Dollar