Scrap Prices Are High, But Is A Pullback Coming? – 1/13/21


Copper Lovers!

Every week we try to think about something that everyone loves to talk about and something that has little arguments or debates, the best thing that we could think of is copper. Well, anyone that likes or loves copper is in luck as we continue to see a strong push for everyone’s favorite red metal the last few days. While we did see prices jump to over 8.5-year highs, only to have a slight pullback, we still have seen very strong prices overall.

On top of that, we have continued to see oil prices climbing and they have reached over $53 per barrel, one of the reasons that this is important is it means the return to not only global travel but also just driving around more. Optimism is in the air and everyone can start to see that within the next few months, we should have more of a come back to the early market of 2020 (we just want copper and other steel prices to stay at 2021 prices!).

Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

Quick Numbers

  • 8.5 Years – Copper prices rose to 8.5-year highs on Friday.
  • 2.5 Years – Steel prices have been strengthened by the oil price rebound. 

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

We love surveys. So much so, that we got excited when we saw iScrapper Pat S. post one of their own that garnished almost 200 votes in a short period of time from his own. So tell us Pat…How far do you break down your scrap?


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Climbs, But Is A Pullback Coming?

With many markets continuing to be in the green, what seems like daily, the only large concern that we have is for a copper pullback in the upcoming days, weeks or months. With copper prices being so strong right now, we have continued to see prices getting reported across the country having a major upswing with averages for bare bright continuing to climb.

On top of that, we have seen the markets follow yield in copper items such as lower-grade insulated wires and lower mix grades of brass finding new homes internationally and having the prices increase on those at the same time. Moving forward into the rest of the first quarter, we expect to see many of the same markets in a positive manner as the incoming administration will generally always be given a grace period and then start to get their policies up and running and hopefully that will help copper and other metal markets continue to have positive upswing.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/6 – 1/12):




Pensacola, FL Cast Aluminum $0.26 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.08 / lb
Everett, MA #1 Copper Tubing $2.95 / lb
Vincennes, IN #2 Copper Tubing $1.70 / lb
Barstow, CA Brass Shells $1.10 / lb
Perryton, TX 2/3 Mix Copper $1.30 / lb
Columbus, GA Clean ACR $1.47 / lb
Denver, CO Dirty Brass $1.15 / lb
Dry Ridge, KY Stainless Steel $0.20 / lb
Toledo, OH Electric Motors $0.15 / lb
Seattle, WA Motherboards $2.20 / lb
Kamloops, British Columbia* #1 Copper Tubing $2.70 /lb.

Ferrous Market News

Oil Prices Are Heading Up, Steel Remains Steady

We have seen the iron and the steel markets continuing to flourish with prices stabilizing, if not going up another $5/ton over the last week. Multiple people have called for pullback prices in the month of February but we’ve also heard the same amount of people claiming that the markets are going to continue to increase. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/6 – 1/12):




Moyock, NC Shreddable Steel $0.08 /lb
Lemont, IL Rotors $250 /ton
Sun Valley, CA #1 HMS $170 /ton
Harrisburg, PA Tin $130 /ton
Fort Collins, CO Shreddable Steel $110 /ton
Greensburg, IN Complete Car $150 /ton
Walton, KY Scrap Iron $135 /ton
Albany, NY Short Steel $300 /ton
Richmond, British Columbia* Tin $180 /ton
Edmonton, Alberta* #1 Prepared $220 /ton
Thunder Bay, Ontario* Shreddable Steel $105 /ton

Other Metal Markets

The aluminum market has enjoyed a very nice come back with prices almost doubling, if not doubling on certain materials over the last few months. With the aluminum markets beaten down from the tariffs that were put into place, it has been a welcome sight to see some of these markets on the scrap side having increased pricing. One thing we would like to mention is that every action has an equal or greater reaction, and many products that we might buy from automobiles to electronics could have an increase in pricing due to many of the higher commodity swings.

Soft lead and car batteries or lead-acid batteries have not enjoyed the same increases the other markets have seen recently. One reason is the fear that going away from automobiles and traditional lead-acid batteries which need more of a constant recharge will not be as valuable compared to higher grade longer lasting and longer energy holding batteries such as lithium-ion.

Catalytic Converter Market News



What is not to love about the catalytic converter market over the last few weeks? Yes, we saw a bit of a pullback in Monday’s pricing on platinum and palladium but we did see those markets climb back on Tuesday. One thing we also saw was the epic climb of rhodium prices nearing $20,000 per ounce. To put that into perspective, at the beginning of 2020 we saw rhodium prices around $5000 per ounce. So many people have been talking about the rise of bitcoin prices, but we would rather find gold coins or at least continue to sell catalytic converters for their precious metals.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (1/6 – 1/12):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $378/@
GD3 $654/@
JSH62 $334 / @
12606389 $352/@
25130440 $278/ @
Small Foreign $129/ @
Regular Domestic $216/ @


Thank You.

in the upcoming months, we will be releasing our new podcast (sign up for release) which will be highlighting and interviewing different people across the scrap metal spectrum. From day to day scrappers to scrap yard owners, we plan on talking to all different sides to try to find out things that people like and don’t like and also learning lessons, overall. If you wanna be spotlighted, please email us.

– Tom

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