Copper Prices Are Uncertain While Other Metals Thrive – 9/22/21


We Have A Head-Scratcher 🥴

If I told you that within five days, copper prices moved between $0.60 and $0.70, do you think that you would be happy or upset? Well, that’s precisely what happened over the last few days, and somehow we almost ended the markets near even to where we were last week. People have been so frustrated and confused about prices, which should make you even more confused. Don’t worry; most traders and scrapyards in the country are in the same boat as you.

Not to mention the news out of Washington D.C. or how the catalytic converter market prices have been jumping up and down more in the last three weeks of trading than we’ve seen in many months. And think: it is only Wednesday, but it is still September, and this is going on.

Quick Numbers

  • $100/tonne –The iron ore price sank below $100 a tonne on Friday for the first time since July 2020, as China’s moves to clean up its heavy-polluting industrial sector spurred a swift and brutal collapse.
  • 17% increase – U.S. natural-gas futures ended Friday at $5.105 per million British thermal units. They were about half that six months ago and have leaped 17% this month
  • 70% of global coal-fired power plants – More than 70% rely on Chinese funding, but that number could soon dwindle.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

…that is all 😂


Featured Question

Question: Why do some scrap yards not take brass shells?

Tom: “Some scrap yards’ insurance companies do not like brass shells because of potential safety hazards, like live bullets being inside.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

What’s Going On With Copper? 📊

The copper prices have been moving more than the quarterback position for the New York Jets over the last few years. We have seen them flip-flopping, jumping, and moving every which way recently. These markets have been getting pushed around for multiple reasons, and one of the larger ones is more news out of China (no surprise here).

To further explain, there is a company out of China called Evergrande. If you asked us one week ago if we had ever heard of them, the answer would be no; if we thought anything, it would be that they were one of the largest shipping companies in the world, which we then remembered was called Evergreen. This company holds a massive amount of real estate in China and multiple places worldwide and has large debt because of its real estate holdings. Over the weekend, we heard of potential problems that they will default on one of their loans, which shook the financial world on Monday.

Not only did the financial world get hit, but metal prices were spooked because anytime you’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, whether it’s real estate or metal, you’re going to shake the world economy up. This is exactly what happened, as we saw massive disruptions in the markets, and that’s why scrap yards have been scared the last few days.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/15 – 9/21):




Delamar, DE Red Brass $2.40 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.65 / lb
Cullman, AL Aluminum Rims $0.50 / lb
North Charleston, SC Old Sheet Aluminum $0.32 / lb
Rancho Cordova, CA Sealed Units $0.20 / lb
Vicksburg, MS Yellow Brass $1.00 / lb
Nashville, TN Aluminum Cans $0.77 / lb
Vienna, GA #2 Copper Tubing $1.20 / lb
Shawnee, OK #1 Copper Tubing  $2.50 / lb
Lancaster, PA Clean ACR $1.70 / lb
Hickory, NC #3 Roofing Copper $1.00 / lb
Thunder Bay, Ontario* 304 Stainless Steel $0.42 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Called It 🤷‍♂️

We fully expected the markets to go down between $40-50 per ton this month, and every indication during August confirms that prediction. But then again, when China gets involved, things generally change and quickly. We saw that the Chinese were curving down the amount of iron ore they were taking in and the new steel production they were putting out. This caused another ripple effect in the markets where we didn’t see the market decline as expected; however, we did see the market stabilize with that news. 

Suggested Reading: Why China is Refusing Scrap Metal & Materials

We are all for the markets staying at this level or higher, as it looks like we could see the same market pricing moving forward into October. After speaking with multiple scrap metal traders, we’ve seen four out of five of them predict that the market has now bottomed out, and these prices that we see could be the bottom of the steel market for the foreseeable future.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/15 – 9/21):




Jacksonville, FL Shreddable Steel $190 / ton
Byhalia, MS Scrap Iron $0.09 / lb 
Indianapolis, IN #2 Heavy Melting Steel $220 / ton
Middlefield, OH Steel B.X. $0.07 / lb
Fort Smith, AR Tin $100 / ton
Sharon Hill, PA Light Iron $8.75 / CWT
Albuquerque, NM #1 HMS $150 / ton
Lafayette, LA Scrap Iron $150 / ton
Las Vegas, NV Shreddable Steel $120 / ton
San Marcos, TX Shreddable Steel $10.50 / CWT
North Bay, Ontario* Cast Iron $199 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Aluminum, Stainless, & Nickel All Thriving ✨

The aluminum markets are continuing to shine as the demand for aluminum keeps finding endless possibilities. With technology adapting stronger material blends of aluminum in cars and trucks, we have also started to see other similar metal markets increasing. The stainless and nickel markets have been thriving over the last few months, and we even saw Apple’s new phones spotlighting a stainless steel case on their phones. Just one more reason to be optimistic about the demand for metal over the years. 

Catalytic Converter Market News



PGM Rebound 🚗

Finally, a rebound after the markets have faltered three weeks in a row. After more supply chain problems in the auto manufacturing markets, we started to see all three PGM prices rising over the last few days. After the previous few weeks, all three metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium) recovered. While they are not at a 60 day rolling average, they are above the 10-day average, showing more strength for the catalytic converter markets. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (9/15 – 9/21):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Honda 02 Slant $443/@
Foreign Large $253/@
Domestic High Grade $235/@
Domestic Low $81 /@
LG Breadloaf $135/@
Bead Jumbo $102/@


Thank You.

Let us know what you want us to talk about next week! Whether it’s about taking things apart, new videos on metals, or interviews – We always love hearing your ideas and going from there! So either comment on our socials or email us at [email protected] with your suggestions! 

– Tom

Contest Reminder:

We are running a contest through October to find the best scrap-related license plate idea for one of Rockaway Recycling’s new trucks! Submit your best idea here, and you’ll be entered to win this DeWalt Impact Driver Kit and Bit Set.  




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