Copper Falling From Fears of COVID Resurgence – 8/18/21


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So copper got pummeled by over $0.15/lb the last few days, resulting in a big pullback. We want to say we’re surprised. Still, we’re not considering the markets have been in a tough position over the last few weeks with news not only out of Afganistan but also the continuing COVID cases that are spooking investors. 

On top of that, we have seen the numbers for shipping containers going up dramatically, which is having a heavy effect on overseas non-ferrous and the markets as a whole for all goods and consumer products. Not to mention that it’s August (already 😢), and many companies are missing people. The labor shortage will continue for a few more weeks until the additional unemployment numbers run out. 

Quick Numbers

  • 21 billion tonnesIt is estimated that there are 21 billion tonnes of polymetallic nodules resting on the ocean floor in the CCZ, containing an estimated:
    • 6 billion tonnes of manganese
    • 226 million tonnes of copper – about 25% of land-based reserves
    • 94,000 tonnes of cobalt – about six times as much as current land-based reserves
    • 270 million tonnes of nickel – 100 times the annual global nickel production in 2019

So how does deep-sea mining relate to scrap? According to a study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, producing battery metals from nodules could reduce emissions of CO² by 70-75%,  cut land use by 94% and eliminate 100% of solid waste.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

We have an easy question for you all this week: What’s your go-to: Apple or Spotify? Make sure to join the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk group to participate in weekly polls.

You know we had to add some comedy to this 😅 Who still has one of these old refrigerators somewhere in their home? Ours is in the garage. Again, thank you to all the scrappers that share funny pictures like these.


Featured Question: 

Question from Timmerd888: Hey Tom. I Have about six 800 lbs. of 750MCM aluminum cable. Should I strip it or leave it as is? I have a 2000x Stripmeister, so it’ll strip almost anything. 

Tom: “Strip strip strip strip strip strip strip strip. In fact, I know a lot of yards that save insulated aluminum from being able to strip it during slower times because of the extra money you make.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

Spooked Investors = Copper Decreases 📉

Copper prices pulled back along with the stock market on Monday and Tuesday, and we saw those reflections start to hit the reported prices immediately. Large market shifts downward will always be reflected faster than any upward market trend will.

Scrap yards generally are working on a two to three-day margin or turnover, and when the prices change so drastically, we’re never surprised to see yards dropping prices with no advanced notice and VERY quickly. This is exactly what happened the last two days. We expect to see a few further market declines, and those prices should start to be reported through the new iScrap App pretty quickly. 

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (8/11 – 8/17):




Bremerton, WA Sheet Aluminum $0.45 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.80 / lb
Greensburg, IN #1 Copper Tubing $3.20 / lb
Hopkins, MN Meatballs (Electric Motors) $0.22 / lb
Davenport, IA 300 Series Stainless Steel $0.75 / lb
Columbus, GA Aluminum Cans  $0.64 / lb
Portland, ME Aluminum Scrap $0.31 / lb
Houston, TX Ballasts $0.20 / lb
Richmond, MI Carbide $7.00 / lb
Apopka, FL Yellow Brass $2.17 / lb
Shreveport, LA Lead Batteries – Automotive $0.13 / lb
Chattanooga, TN Insulated CU Wire #1 $2.11 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Steel Weakening ⛓ 

Steel and iron prices have steadied week over week, but they seem to be weakening as we get into September. The Infrastructure deal that the Senate passed will have little to no impact on the larger steel markets in the next few months and might not affect the prices at all. While billions of tax dollars will be spent, they will not start to flow for six to nine months or so, and the amount of steel that will be used or needed will not drastically impact the market prices

The pricing on oil and the cost to export materials will weigh in much heavier on the pricing than the infrastructure ever will. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (8/11 – 8/17):




Birch River, WV Shred/Steel Mix  $7.50 / CWT
Carrollton, GA Short Steel – 18′ & under $13.25 / CWT
Howell, MI Shred $240 / ton
Kokoma, IN Shreddable Steel $200 / ton
Pittsburgh, PA Shreddable Steel $0.11 / lb
Woodinville, WA Tin $0.05 / lb
Lawrence, KS Light Iron $120 / ton
Iowa City, IA Complete Car $160 / ton
Birmingham, AL #2 Unprepared $10.00 / CWT
San Marcos, TX Shreddable Steel $11.00 / CWT
Tempe, AZ Scrap Iron $135 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Aluminum: Ol’ Reliable 🥫

Aluminum has remained very steady as more manufacturers are producing lighter and more durable products than ever before. We are watching these markets as automakers begin to integrate more aluminum into the bodies of their cars and the car frames and other parts. The EV market loves aluminum in their cars, and even manufacturers like Ford are really embracing the new EV change and fuel efficiency with more aluminum products. 

Catalytic Converter Market News



PGM All Over The Place 📊

All PGM prices have been jumpy, with palladium being the most recent mover. We saw a 6% decline in the market prices over the last couple of days, affecting the average converter price by having a $6 decline per cat overall. While platinum has steadied itself, and we have seen the markets closer to $1000 per ounce (most recent number at $977 per ounce), but we are still up in the air on pricing going into the last third of the year. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (8/11 – 8/17):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign – Pre $85/@
Foreign – Medium $351/@
Foreign – Large $381/@
Honda 02 $646/@
Domestic $213/@
Chrysler $307/@
GM – Large Breadloaf $198/@


Thank You.

2.0. 2.0. 2.0. Can you tell that we are excited for the newest iScrap edition coming in the next few days?! Please, download, update, and share the latest iScrap 2.0 version and let us know what you think next week.

– Tom



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