Copper, Steel All Seeing Red This Week – 9/8/21


September Weather Makes Us Smile…what about you?

The markets have not skipped a beat over the Labor Day Weekend (goodbye to all of you white pants lovers, that season has passed until MDW 2022), and we have seen prices relatively strong. One of the biggest things that we saw over the weekend was a few articles talking about aluminum pricing, and that market has made a powerful push over the last few months…let’s hope that this remains.

We heard that Toyota would put a cool $9,000,000,000 into their new EV push (that’s $9 billion, by the way) over the next 10 years. What does that mean for scrap? Well- more copper and aluminum will be needed, and that is a perfect thing. These markets may not be able to keep up- maybe bitcoin pricing will work its way into the scrap world; who knows?

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Non-Ferrous Market News

White-hot is normally a great or terrible thing- but let’s rephrase it here. ““Aluminum is a white-hot metal right now in the commodities trading space.” (Did you see what we did there…wordplay at its finest). With Aluminum pricing hitting 10-year highs, we do not see any slowdown coming soon. Since the low market in May of 2020, we have seen the pricing on aluminum go up…wait for it…it’s coming….80%. Wow, wow, wow- that is a historic climb. While all of this news is great for the pricing on scrap- it is going to be the opposite for goods that we buy at the stores like:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Electronics
  • Cars
  • Cans (food/aerosols) 
  • Spare Parts for autos/trucks/machines. 

These changes may be here to stay as we come out of (if ever) this pandemic climate as pricing worldwide has seen a dramatic increase. With many countries looking for materials to help build many of the above items, the Chinese have remained sitting on many materials and are unwilling to part with them (no shock here either). These may have a large domino effect throughout the next 6-12 months of pricing projections. 

On top of the supply crunches, you have a major problem continuing (notice a trend here) with transportation and shipping. Both of these industries have seen crazy price increases, and overall we do not see these markets taking any time or price reduction off.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (11/25 – 12/01):




Spartanburg, NC Insulated Copper Wire $1.00 / lb
Rockaway, NJ Bare Bright Copper Wire” href=””>#1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.70 / lb
Chattanooga, TN Aluminum 6061 $0.86 / lb
Timmins, Ontario #2 Copper Tubing $3.00 / lb
Harrisburg, PA Hard Drives $0.20 / lb
Longview, WA 500/750 Insulated Cable $1.09 / lb
Madison, WI Bare Bright Copper $3.50 / lb
Slidell, LA Sheet Aluminum $0.50 / lb
Lisbon, NH Aluminum Cans $0.28 / lb
St. James, MO Red Brass $2.61 / lb
Hugo, MN Sealed Units $0.20 / lb
Birch River, WV #1 Copper Tubing $3.50 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Steel pricing has continued to take a nosedive after the record levels that we saw in June/July 2021. These markets have gotten beaten down as iron ore prices have come off of their all-time highs as well. The lifeline to steel has been the higher transport costs and some of the other overall industry demands we have seen for most metals recently. 

One of the primary reasons for the markets dropping has been fears of COVID problems and the fear of this trend continuing. The markets could continue to see a decline for the rest of 2021 as the Chinese (yes- them again) are looking to pull back their new steel production to last year’s levels. This will drive down steel prices because if the Chinese are not heavy into selling or producing the steel, they will not be heavy into refining it, and then the global pricing markets will reflect that. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (11/25 – 12/01):




Scranton, PA #1 HMS $0.11 / lb
Harrisburg, PA Tin $150 / ton
Leesville, LA Light Iron $0.06 / lb
Alamo, TX Shreddable Steel $0.10 / lb
Gallipolis, OH Incomplete Car $200 / ton
Hellertown, PA Rotors $0.13 / lb
Napoleon, OH Rotors $270 / ton
Detroit, MI Shreddable Steel $70 / ton
Tampa FL Light Iron $0.09 / lb
Northwood, NH #1 HMS $250 / ton
Portland, OR #1 Steel $250 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Lead-Acid battery prices have climbed a bit, and we have seen the same for soft lead. Overall these lead markets have been left behind by many of the other regularly traded metals throughout the year, and we do not see an uptick coming anytime in 2021. We need multiple other metals markets to really recoup before we see any signs of life in the lead world. 

Catalytic Converter Market News



With rumblings of large price drops coming- we want to be one of the first to let you know. We heard that one of the world’s most expensive precious metals, Rhodium, is slated to have a little more of a dip in pricing. After hitting historical levels near $30k per ounce earlier this year, we have seen much of the PGM demand tied to many other commodities declines since May of this year.

While catalytic converter prices are still strong, we have heard that a lot of people are holding onto their good cats and hoping the markets will start to increase. We appreciate the optimism, but from the industry’s point of view, the best thing to do is to move it as quickly as you get it…and then get paid just as fast. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (03/03-03/09):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Exotic $786/@
Foreign XL $421/@
Domestic Regular $189/ @
Domestic Pre $148 /@
SM Breadloaf $263/ @
Bead Regular $34/ @


Thank You.

We hope that all affected by Hurricane Ida or Henri can recoup and rebuild themselves as best as possible. We know that it is not easy to rebuild, but we hope you keep your hearts full and heads up. 

– Tom


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