Is Copper Cooling Down, While Aluminum Is Up? – 3/24/21



We’ve been cookin’ something up… ????

Well, we have a bit of a secret, but we won’t share it quite yet. Here’s a hint: if you like scrap, like to hear never-before-told stories, and learn how to make more money, then you should pay attention these next few weeks.


Quick Numbers #️⃣

  • 2021 – Building products are seeing record pricing. Good news for supply companies- bad news for consumers. 
  • 80% – Crude oil prices have gone up more than 80% since Fall of 2020. What major event happened? Hmmm….think about it and get back to us. 
  • 7% – There is the possibility of U.S. growth in 2021 reaching upwards of 7% post-pandemic– that is great news. (The same prediction has China at 8.4%). 
  • $0.11– On Tuesday, March 23rd, we saw the biggest one-week drop of copper at an $0.11/lb. drop. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Last week, the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk group answered this poll: What kind of average weekly hours are you putting in scrapping? Out of 127 votes, more than half the scrapper who answered scrap less than 15 hours a week. Is this because people are scrapping strictly for extra cash? As a hobby? Maybe they have full-time jobs? Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree on one thing: scrappers work damn hard no matter the number of hours! ???? Make sure to join our Facebook group to vote in our weekly polls and connect with over 8,000 other scrapping enthusiasts. 

Have you ever seen copper in its native form? One of our group members posted about this marvel found in the country of Hungary. Fun Fact: the name copper comes from the Greek kyprios, “of Cyprus”, the location of copper mines since pre-historic times.


Non-Ferrous Market News

???? Copper Is Cooling Down

Copper has cooled off a bit over the last few weeks with prices continuing to range in the $4.00-$4.15 trading levels. While we have seen some larger drops from day-to-day, overall that is a good sign. A stable market is a more secure market. It means that you do not have to guess as much as to what is going on with the market. We know that is it tough figuring out the copper markets and selling (guessing) when the market is high. We always try to tell people to look at outside influences such as oil and different economic events. In the coming months, you will be able to gain more insight through some of our new services (aka…stay tuned). 

???? Aluminum Is STILL Strong

Aluminum prices have drastically strengthened over the beginning of 2021, with the markets showing great signs of life. We have heard of shortages across the country at certain U.S. mills and that could lead to a price increase (don’t go too crazy, maybe $0.03-0.06 per lb.) in the coming month or so. This aluminum industry is seemingly ready for a large climb over the coming years with vehicles pushing for higher fuel efficiency (which will lead to lighter vehicles). 

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (03/17 – 03/23):




Salem, OR Christmas Lights $0.07 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.60 / lb
Cleveland, OH Aluminum Siding $0.50 / lb
York, PA Yellow Brass $1.90 / lb
Moss Point, MS Aluminum Cans  $0.50 / lb
Marietta, GA 500/750 Insulated Cable  $2.50 / lb
Peoria, IL Insulated Copper Wire $0.52 / lb
Sioux City, IA Fork Truck Battery  $0.12 / lb
Dallas, NC Clean Brass Casings  $1.70 / lb
Coschocton, OH #1 Copper Tubing  $3.10 / lb
Middletown, NY Mixed Motors  $0.25 / lb
Ponca City, OK #2 Copper Tubing  $2.65 / lb

Ferrous Market News

⛽️ Feeling It At The Pump

Notice anything at the pump recently? Ohhhh- gas prices are so incredibly high that it almost makes you blink twice to see that they are right. Well, they are, and in the past that would mean that the steel prices would be increasing at the same time, but that was the past and this is the present. The markets are poised to be turbulent as we have seen steel prices drop about $20-30 per ton over the last few weeks, with another $10 down predicted in the coming days. 

What’s the good news? It seems that many mills are lacking quality steel as the December through February rush on steel being sent in has started to fade with mills looking for product. But after Turkey pulled out of multiple large steel purchases, we have seen some pricing fade, but not disappear entirely like times in the past. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (03/17 – 03/23):




Albuquerque, NM Light Iron $130 / ton
San Marcos, TX Shreddable Steel $7.00 / CW
Greenbay, WI Unprepared Cast Iron $0.10 / lb
Eugene, OR #1 HMS $170 / ton
Central, WI Clean Steel Car Rims  $295 / ton
Flint, MI Cast Iron $200 / ton
Birmingham, AL #2 Prepared $9.00 / CWT
Kincheloe, MI Steel Foundry $275 / ton
Apopka, FL #1 Unprepared $7.50 / CWT
Denver, CO 18/8 Stainless Steel $0.40 / lb
North Bay, Ontario* Tin $240 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Gold has continued to be all over the place with market prices jumping between $1,650 and $1,750 per ounce. The electronic recycling industry has had a very crazy time the last few months with the markets climbing over $2000 per ounce and then having a 15% pullback since then. But with the price of gold and silver remaining steady (not to mention Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium increases), we have seen the precious metal markets continuing to show great promise over this time. Moving forward, it won’t shock us to see some nice upticks due to inflation and $1.9 trillion USD starting to hit the markets in the form of spending and investing. 

Catalytic Converter Market News



With prices on average for catalytic (our favorite spelling is always “cadillac”) converters on the rise, we have seen the markets growing in an incredible way. With Rhodium prices recovered from the 25% drop, we almost saw the markets go back to record highs until we saw a slight RH pullback on Tuesday. One of the major issues that we are now hearing and reading about is the increased thefts in the catalytic converter markets.

These were very similar to the ones that we saw in the copper markets about 15 years ago and will pose major problems across the country. One thing that the team at has said from day one is that with no proper ID or tracking, they will not buy cats from anyone… and that remains steady today. Markets show little to no signs of weakness anytime in the nearby future and we are watching them closely. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (03/17 – 03/23):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $500/@
GD3 $900/@
JSH62 $431/ @
12606389 $418 /@
25130440 $378/ @
Small Foreign $149/ @
Regular Domestic $231/ @


Thank You.

Listen…no seriously, if you made it to the bottom of this update then we want to listen to you. What do you want us to talk about? Go over? Teach you?

What can we do to help you make more money with your scrap- let us know and maybe we will even send you a present in the mail. Scrap ya later!

– Tom

Related Articles:

*Canadian Dollar