Copper Prices Drop & China’s Involvement – 6/16/21



That Hurt 🤕

So far $0.20 has been shaved off of copper in one day certainly is not how we want to start going over a market report. But the markets happen, and we want to talk about them, so let’s get to it.

What Does China Have To Do With It?

A major report yesterday that the Chinese were getting ready to tap into a large reserve of aluminum and copper that they have stored. China apparently said that they don’t like having copper prices so high. They would rather inject their own surplus into the market than have copper approach $5.00/lb.

Suggested Reading: China: Not Our Garbage Collector

Well, the market has slightly stabilized, which is still a big number to digest, and we also see small cracks in the steel market with prices dropping as well.

Quick Numbers

  • 9% decrease – Copper prices fell 9% below their May record, marking the worst day for the industrial metal.
  • 12 years – Average length of a car from the day it was purchased to the day it is scrapped is 12 years and 2 months.
  • 5% surge – Consumer prices continued to climb strongly in May, surging 5% from a year ago, the highest annual inflation rate in nearly 13 years.

Social Section

Happy Hump Day!  To start…

ANYWAYS, we thought this post in the group was interesting. How did you all get started scrappingNomad Scrapper had quite the come up here.  We want to hear your come-up story in the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk Facebook group.

We also have a new poll running in the Facebook group, and we want your feedback: How do you store your scrap before bringing it into the yard to sell? Many scrappers have already answered, so if this is something you struggle with, head on over to the post and read what other scrappers do.


Featured Scrap Question 

Question: My yard won’t take refrigerators or freezers. Says EPA banned it. My question is, if we can’t scrap freezers or freon and they end up in landfills, how does that protect the environment?

Tom: “You should try to deal with a scrap yard that can give you a straight answer ahead of time; many will not be able to do that and create environmental problems that you should avoid being part of.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

Turbulent Markets ⚠️

As we opened up with the copper market dropping substantially, we are still optimistic that these markets will settle themselves out and still have a strong 2021. It’s days like yesterday that spook investors and scrap yard owners and customers like you. Large drops in the market that erase any and all profit can be a swift wake-up call that these high markets are not here forever and that we have to be watching the markets constantly.

Following companies like iScrap, who share market information along with pieces of news to let you know where the markets are, helps you stay updated. This, in addition to following our different social media channels and our Scrap Metal Recycling Group, will give you the information you need to know where the markets are and learn about different factors that occur.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/9 – 6/15):




Little Rock, AR #1 Copper Scrap $3.25 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.85 / lb
Vallejo, CA Dirty Brass $0.75 / lb
Bunnell, FL  Cast Aluminum $0.30 / lb
San Marcos, TX #2 Copper Tubing  $3.42 / lb
Decatur, AL Aluminum Cans  $0.50 / lb
Durham, NC Romex® Wire $1.71 / lb
Peoria, IL Aluminum Copper Radiators $1.01 / lb
Seattle, WA Lead $0.40 / lb
Lee’s Summit, MI Aluminum Scrap  $0.30 / lb
Savage, MN Brass Shells $2.12 / lb
Bend, OR Yellow Brass $2.30 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Weakening Iron? 📉

The iron and steel market shows signs of weakness due to the increased oil markets and multiple supply chain disruptions. With oil prices reaching 2.5-year highs and some investors predicting that we will hit over $100 per barrel by the end of this year, we could see a large increase coming. Currently, at $72 per barrel, we would see about a 40% increase in prices, which could hurt the steel market until the world recovers from Covid.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Oil Prices Affect Scrap Prices?

In the United States, we are blessed to be farther along in the recovery timeline than other countries and economies are. Because of that, many of the supplies that we need from overseas vendors are being held up, hurting the overall market.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/9 – 6/15):




New Castle, PA Engine Blocks $320 / GT
New Franklin, OH Loose Sheet Iron $202 / GT
Manassas, VA Light Iron $0.07 / lb 
Albuquerque, NM Shreddable Steel $100 / ton
Brunswick, GA Scrap Iron $6.00 / CW
Alton, IL Tin  $0.10 / lb 
Tempe, AZ Water Heaters $165 /ton
Manchester, NH Light Iron $140 /ton
Garden City, KS Scrap Iron $80 /ton
Hancock, MD Incomplete Car  $218 / ton
Brighton, Ontario* Shreddable Steel $280 /ton

Other Metal Markets

Unanswered E.V. Questions 🧐 

Wow, it seems like every single person continues to talk about the electric vehicle market. We continue to struggle with answers on how things are going to be properly resourced and how they will be recycled on the battery side of things. These are questions that have not been answered. Even as multiple supply chains begin to form, we still have not seen enough answers that make us happy and confident that the lithium-ion recycling market is growing and strengthening.

Catalytic Converter Market News



With rhodium prices slightly recovering, we have seen weakening demand for some metals over the last few weeks. After hitting extreme highs at the beginning of May, we have not seen large increases in demand as multiple auto manufacturers are struggling with how much material to buy for their gas engines versus their long-term sustainable energy sources, like lithium and other battery metals that they will need for the EV push.

Knowing that the markets change all of the time, the team at is continuing to watch markets and create news and pricing alerts through emails and notifications. If you’re looking for more information on the catalytic converter market, or you’re looking to learn about how to sell your catalytic converter, please go to and reach out for a quote today.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (6/9 – 6/15):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $495 /@
GD3 $801 /@
JSH62 $483 / @
12606389 $463 /@
25130440 $364 / @
Small Foreign $140 / @
Regular Domestic $225 / @


Thank You.

Our podcast has continued to gain subscribers and share more metal stories and news as you look to grow your own profitability. If you’re looking for further information about the market, you can always reach out to the team at iScrap so we can help you learn where the markets are and where they are going in the coming weeks or months.

– Tom

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*Canadian Dollar