Calm Markets: Smooth Sailing From Here? – 7/7/21


On Repeat? 🔁

Quick poll: Do we always talk about the same thing? Answer to come later on.

With the holiday weekend, we saw markets strong going into the 4th of July and a little tumultuous at the beginning of this shortened trading week. We saw copper numbers have a $0.14 price swing on Tuesday, with many concerns about the price of oil running amok. The good news? We did not see a decrease in the steel market like we thought we would, with some market softening only $10 per ton and an expectation that could’ve been $30-$40.

We’ve recently been watching has lawmakers talk about the electric vehicle market and how they have substantial long-term concerns about where the United States manufacturers will get that much lithium to power all these cars, especially considering that the U.S. does not own or operate many minds. Again, the reliance on China for many base metals continues.

 Answer: yes and no. It’s not like we are’s going to talk about scrapbooking…Or are we?

Quick Numbers

  • $100 billion – The market for lithium-ion batteries is projected by the industry to grow from US$30 billion in 2017 to $100 billion in 2025.
  • $76.41/barrel – U.S. crude futures were at $76.41 a barrel, up 1.7% from Monday’s close (the highest since 2014). This comes after further resistance from the United Arab Emirates.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Could you talk about junk cars for 12 hours? 😅 I don’t think I could, but this sure is funny. Maybe we’ll run a scrap meme contest soon? Either way, keep the memes coming, people. 



Featured Scrap Question

Question: I’m sitting on about 100-150 lbs of Romex® Wire; should I strip them $3.60/lb or sell as-is for $1.35/lb?

Tom: “The price that you are receiving for Romex® seems like it’s not enough money, and you always make at least 30% more money when stripping it, as long as you have the time.”


Non-Ferrous Market News

Smooth Sailing ⛵️

After the crazy week that we saw in the market about 3-4 weeks ago, the market seems relatively calm. There have been no other large influxes of copper being poured into the market, as we’ve also seen increasing demand over this time. Does this ever sound confusing? We have found during 2021 that the copper market has been far from normal, as prices have really rallied and had major ups and downs, but overall it is in a solid place.

Aluminum prices have continued to shine, with the market paying over $1.00/lb on the trading level for multiple higher grades of aluminum scrap. With these high prices, we’ve seen the markets have a solid upswing, and demand does not seem to be dropping anytime soon. 

If you want to find something to complain about in the non-ferrous market right now, it could be about how expensive beverage cans could be getting, pumping those costs of your Friday night beverages a little higher in the coming months. Good thing you know what to do with the cans.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/30 – 7/6):




San Jose, CA Sealed Units $0.19 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.75 / lb
Roswell, NM Aluminum Copper Radiators  $1.73 / lb
Mandeville, LA Copper Scrap $2.80 / lb
Whitman, MA Stainless Steel $0.35 / lb
Portland, OR Yellow Brass $1.00 / lb
Columbus, GA  #2 Copper Tubing  $3.42 / lb
Peoria, IL Wiring Harness  $0.34 / lb
Alvin, TX Aluminum Cans  $0.50 / lb 
Morristown, IN Insulated Copper Wire  $1.30 / lb
Madison, WI  Aluminum Rims $0.65 / lb
Delmar, DE  Laptops  $0.40 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Costly Factors 💸

Oil, oil, oil, oil, oil seems to be the talk of the town as prices have continued to push upwards. These pushers have cost manufacturers and recyclers a lot of money in trucking and in refining rates, which have really pushed the markets to new highs. Overall, we’ve seen these markets climbing throughout 2021, and they are a very welcome sign after the last few years.

Moving forward, however, we have heard about the different struggles in the steel market. One of them is getting the people of India vaccinated and back online to continue to consume and produce steel from many parts of the world. We do not expect the steel markets to drop much further than they are right now, although small swings will be expected for the rest of the year. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/30 – 7/6):




Tucson, AZ #1 Prepared $220 / ton 
Vicksburg, MS Scrap Iron $0.10 / lb
Harrisburg, PA Tin $160 / ton
San Marcos, TX Shreddable Steel $11 / CW
Mount Airy, NC Scrap Iron $0.06 / lb 
House Springs, MO Shreddable Steel $165 / ton
Grand Rapids, Michigan  Sheet Iron $250 / GT
Birmingham, AL #2 Prepared  $9.00 / CWT
Gulfport, MS #2 HSM $0.16 / lb 
Jacksonville, FL Cast Iron $13.50 / CWT 
Tulsa, OK #1 Unprepared  $150 / NT 

Other Metal Markets

Long-Lasting? ⏱

We spoke to someone recently in the battery recycling industry about lead-acid batteries. The conversation was about figuring out where and how quickly the lead-acid battery could last, considering the big push to electric vehicles. The expert said that even the electric batteries would continue to have a lead-acid battery inside them to help start the car, as you need some driving factor to be powered on.

Well, this could work in some of the electric vehicles. Long-term, it does not seem like enough of a sustainable market to bank on. Lead-acid battery prices are returning to the $0.40-$0.50 range. Until a new use is found, the market will continue to see battery prices in a decreased price range.

Catalytic Converter Market News



Goodbye Cats? 😿

I talked to another large catalytic converter buyer recently, and we discussed the struggles that the industry could see moving forward. They said that while the electric vehicle push is real, the timeline is not even close to feasible. The demand for materials within the cats will continue to make catalytic converter prices increase.

One of the primary reasons?

With the increased push on fuel efficiency and clean environmental impacts, we could see more precious metals pushed into some of the newer cars in catalytic converters, which would change the market overall. So for the next 5-10 years, you should not expect to see a large decrease in the demand for the precious metals out of the different catalytic converters.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (6/30 – 7/6):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign – Pre  $82/ @
Foreign – Large  $377/ @
Honda 02 $645/ @
Domestic $210 / @
GM – Small Breadloaf  $291/ @
GM – Large Breadload  $194/ @
Bead Regular  $36/ @


Thank You.

If someone you just met asks you what you do for a living, tell them that you were a commodities trader. Think about it: you trade metal for cash or a check; isn’t that the definition of a trader?

– Tom


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