After High Prices, Copper Slips This Week – 2/13/19

Hey iScrappers!!!

With a lot of the cold out of the picture and halfway through February, we have started to see more and more positive stories coming out of the market. We have seen many parts of the country getting hammered with snow and that certainly will slow things down while on the road looking for material or doing your normal everyday jobs, but things that we have looked out for recently have been the trade talks and other deals going on within the government.

Inclement weather is something that happens every time during this time of the year and nothing is surprising here, having the potential trade deal with China in place however is something that does not happen every time and here we are 15 days away from a potential deal being made or more tariffs going into effect. That’s exciting and scary all at the same time.

Suggested Reading: The Effects of Snow & Winter on the Scrap Industry

Quick Numbers

  • 42% Increase – In the price of palladium in the last 12 months leading it to become more valuable per ounce than gold today.
  • $12 Per Ton Increase – Steel prices up for reported prices over $10 per ton over the last week – GREAT NEWS.
  • 12% Decrease – In lithium prices over the last few months, leading battery manufacturers to hopefully begin to produce these cheaper.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

It’s always great finding scrap- but you never forget that one time where people give it to you often and for nothing. That’s what happened to this weeks featured iScrapper Anthony L. He starts a new job only to find out that they throw away copper (insert profanity-laced tirade here!) every day and they said he could take it – score! Can you believe Day 1 on the job and he already got a raise – winner!!!


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper prices have retreated about $0.05/lb since peaking last week at 2019 highs, but we did see those higher prices start to creep into the reporting prices through the iScrap App. With copper prices rising on average $0.03/lb week over week we are happy to see that some scrap yards are starting to push these prices that they receive to the scrappers which have been a welcomed sight to see. 

Like we said in our opening paragraph we are continuing to look out for the tariff negotiations that are going on with the Chinese right now. While a lot of people are looking towards the metal tariffs the US has a heavy interest in intellectual data been stolen by the Chinese and this could be a potential hold up with deals going into place. 

Suggested Reading: What Are Metal Tariffs & How Do They Affect Scrap?

On top of that, the Chinese produce 50% of the world’s cold rolled steel and with the US pushing more tariffs and promoting more US steel production we have started to see more mills either building or reopening furnaces. While this section is about non-ferrous metals, everything seems to work together and this is no exception, the Chinese have been taken in so much copper of the last 30 years that with these tariffs in place on many of the scrap we have seen a large discrepancy overall.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/6-2/12):




Dothan, AL Yellow Brass $1.64 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.50 / lb
Streetboro, OH Cast Aluminum $0.25 / lb
Belleville, IN #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.32 / lb
Springfield, VA AL/Copper Cutoffs $0.10 / lb
Richmond, VA 17-4 Stainless Steel $0.30 / lb
Bakersfield, CA Car/Truck Batteries $0.23 / lb
Cleveland, OH Aluminum Rims $0.45 / lb
Sikeston, MO Clean Brass Radiators $1.37 / lb
Sarnia, Ontario* Lead $0.35 / lb*
Rochester, MN #2/3 Mix Copper $1.90 / lb
Charlotte, NC AL Extrusion $0.60 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Like we mentioned earlier the Chinese have been producing 50% of the world steel over the last 10+ years and we have continued to watch the scrap steel and iron market closely. Oil prices continue to be a major factor on what’s going on with a lot of the output in the US and world markets. It seems to be all eyes and ears on what’s coming out of a potential deal to be struck between the US and Chinese on the tariffs.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

With companies like Nucor and US Steel opening more factories and hiring more workers in the US we have seen more and more political lobbying happening in Washington DC to favor the steel markets staying as strong as they are in the US. 

We have seen the market increase over the last week with steel prices up $6 per ton on our average reported prices which is another welcome sight to be seen. We have heard some positive stories about people seeing more demolition is taking place which means that the US economy is continuing to thrive and companies are looking to build new plants and get rid of old ones. And because of that, you should see more steel scrap flowing into the US and staying in the US for the rest of 2019.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/6-2/12):




Newton Falls, OH Shreddable Steel $140 /ton
Wichita Falls, TX Sheet Iron $100 /ton
Liberal, KS Shreddable Steel $20 /ton
Brighton, IL Light Iron $170 /ton
Fredericton, New Brunswick* Light Iron $100 /ton*
Cleveland, OH Shreddable Steel $140 /ton
Rochester, NY Shreddable Steel $159 /ton

Other Markets

With the Palladium market heading near all-time high is an eclipse in gold in pricing, we have seen the catalytic converter market getting busier and busier as well as the theft of catalytic converter is increasing as well.

Thank You.

We always look forward to hearing your ideas, your thoughts and different stories that you have about scrap metal. Please let us know if there’s anything that we can do better and we look forward to seeing you next week, scrap ya later!

– Tom

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*Canadian Dollar