How Much Did Copper Recover Today? – 2/12/20

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Where’s the love?

After seeing that such a nice finish to the end of 2019 and a strong start to 2020, we have seen a real faltering market over the last few weeks. With major concerns about the supply chain and how the coronavirus overseas in China has now spread throughout different regions of the world will affect the overall global market, it has heavily affected copper. At the same time, it has affected other markets such as Nickel, iron, precious metals; as well as multiple other commodity industries like oil.

This does not even mention the unfortunate amount of deaths and sickness that this disease has caused in such an unexpected and swift manner. When things like this that are out of the control of the market traders, suppliers and of course you the scrapper, it makes it very difficult to get a gauge of where the market is going to be headed.

Quick Numbers

  • 60,000 Tons – The amount the coronavirus may cut China’s copper output this month.
  • 22% – Drop in oil prices this month.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

We don’t always like talking or posting about bad news…but sometimes it is too relevant not to. We saw this article the other day and then saw scrapper Travis H. share it about someone dumpsters diving. We know that many people do what this young lady did – but you never know what you may jump into and what harm it could cause. Safety has to be the #1 issue when scrapping because otherwise, you do not have the ability to make money if you are hurt. 


Non-Ferrous Market News

After seeing copper drop about $0.33-$0.35 over 10 days, we’ve seen a slight recovery over the last 2 1/2 trading days. We have seen the market recover about $0.06-0.07 a pound and while that does not erase all of the drops that we saw, at least it’s going in a positive direction instead of a negative way. Like we’ve mentioned in the past, when outside influences such as viruses or war affect the entire market in a way because they are so unpredictable, sometimes it is just a wait-and-see approach.

At the same time, we look towards optimistic points of view but we know that with things like the Coronavirus outbreak in China which continues to be the worlds largest consumer of most base metals, we are going to see a lag time in production of factories as many are being shut down and quarantined overseas in China.

While we talk about the Chinese market and the Coronavirus outbreak, we still have not even touched base and talked about the political environment that we have going on in the United States. With primary elections going on for the Democratic and Republican parties in multiple states already and in multiple states to come, these are further reasons to watch the market with little stability or a solid gauge to see what’s going to be into the middle of 2020.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/5 – 2/11):




Garland, TX Sheet Aluminum $0.28 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.30 / lb
Hayward, CA Lead $0.50 / lb
Brunswick, GA Insulated Aluminum Wire $0.13 / lb
Hutchinson, KS 17-4 Stainless Steel $0.42 / lb
Milwaukee, WI #1 Copper Tubing $2.00 / lb
North Little Rock, AR #2 Copper Tubing $1.50 / lb
Philadelphia, PA Romex® Wire $0.46 / lb
Byhalia, MS Insulated Copper Wire $0.40 / lb
Tuscola, IL Aluminum Cans $0.25 / lb
Charlton, MA THHN Wire $1.20 / lb
Mississauga, Ontario* Brass $2.00 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Not trying to repetitive, but with the Coronavirus outbreaks and further price declines in the iron market, the market continued to fall over the last week. It seems like a weaker market is here and we don’t know how long it’s going to stay with price drops averaging $20-$34 per ton happening over the last few weeks. We’re watching these markets and trying to figure out what’s going to happen, since the Coronavirus outbreak has occurred and has dropped the oil prices and that it has had a very large impact on where the markets have gone recently.

While seeing cheaper gas prices is always a positive thing when we go to fill our cars and trucks, it generally means that the metal and base commodity prices are down as well, which is the case currently. With the markets in a bit of a decline, we’re not sure where this is going to pick up and we’re in a wait and see approach to see what happens with the markets moving forward. Overall with the steel, heavy iron and light iron prices continuing to be in decline, we see further price drops going on in February and possibly into March.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (2/5 – 2/11):




Columbia, SC #1 Steel $80 /ton
Evansville, IN Shreddable Steel $110 /ton
Dennisville, NJ Light Iron $4.20 /CW
Greenbay, WI Sheet Iron $90 /ton
Houston, TX #1 Steel $120 /ton
Johnson City, TN Shreddable Steel $80 /ton
North Kingstown, RI Light Iron $0.04 /lb
La Grande, OR Cast Iron $15 /ton
Jacksonville, FL #1 Steel $80 /ton
Ventura, CA Shreddable Steel $40 /ton
Jonesboro, AR Cast Iron $80 /ton

Other Markets

In the precious metal markets, we have continued to see a solid price model for gold hovering in the mid $1,650 range which has bode well for multiple electronic recyclers. One large problem is that the majority of these electronics tend to be copper and other base metals which have been in a decline over the last few weeks and have negated some of the stability that we have seen in the gold markets.

As it seems that catalytic converters have continued to be the most talked-about item in 2020 and the end of 2019, we have continued to see a very strong price range for Palladium, Platinum, and Rhodium. With Catalytic Converter prices being very stable, but at the same time having a large chance to become unstable at any given moment considering the large price increases, we’re watching very closely to see what happens.

Thank You.

We continue to value your input, your pictures and your stories that we see through email and through social media. Any ideas, thoughts or different things that you want us to try to share with you to make your scrap life better we’re always willing to listen to and do our best to fulfill.

Overall, the markets still are in a very stable position even with some of the instability that we have seen in an unpredictable way. We’re happy where the markets are and we’re hoping that moving forward after the outbreak of the coronavirus is hopefully tamed down to see some stable and increasing markets going into the spring and summer months of 2020.

– Tom

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