Roller Coaster Rides on Copper Prices – 2/5/20

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Good morning roller coaster riders!

With all of the crazy price swings and increases and decreases in the stock market over the last week, we have no other ideas except to call ourselves the roller coaster scrap guy. After having an extremely stable month of January, we have seen the market in the last week and a half takes on a whole set of circumstances. Seen prices on copper drop over $0.30/lb in less than six trading days, due to fears of the Coronavirus, which were a big blow to the scrap and copper trading community. But we have seen over the last two days (including today), is a resurgence of about $.10 a pound added back into the market with different political and economic news data reporting to help these which we will talk about later.

We do our best not to talk about politics, but it’s hard to ignore things that are so pressing on all types of issues. After reading parts of the State of the Union address from Tuesday night, one of the big things that we pulled out of there was a bipartisan agreement to help the infrastructure of the United States get reforms. This would be in the bridges, roads, and tunnels, as well as many other public utility items, would be getting rebuilt over the next 5 to 20 years depending on which plan you read. That is a positive piece of news that has bipartisanship support and we’re hoping will start to spur local domestic steel mills to continue buying iron at a more steady level in the upcoming months and years.

Quick Numbers

  • $0.35 per lb – Price drop in copper over 7 trading days.
  • $0.10 per lb – Price increase on 2/3 and 2/4 in total in copper.
  • 16% – Price drop in oil after more news on coronavirus outbreak.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

We do not see too many posts about electronics and sorting- so this week we wanted to show one that we saw from iScrapper and solid contributor John D. John shows pictures of him taking different hard drive items apart. Also, the problems that are both good and bad on things that he sees with them. Talking about them always lead to more knowledge AND the hard drive board is worth more $$$. Keep on scrapping!


Non-Ferrous Market News

Roller-Coaster Rides for FREE in Scrap!

As a kid, you might’ve been afraid to go on that old wooden roller coaster at the local fair but recently we have seen a roller coaster that makes that one seems about as safe as could be. With the market dropping $0.34 per pound in a matter of seven trading days we have seen it come back about $0.10/lb in the last two days. Some of the reasons that we have seen the pullback were the coronavirus outbreak and worries and fears of spread to the United States. But after seeing some of the positive and proactive changes such as Airlines canceling flights to and from China for multiple months and seeing the United States bring back multiple citizens on the plane rides, some of those fears have been quenched for now.

During that time we also saw oil prices drop over 15% and while that will Lead to a cheaper gas price in the foreseeable future, large price swings of any type whether it be in the stock market, copper or iron markets or the energy industry are generally not good things for the long-term outlook. We know that there are always going to be multiple events during the year, whether they are because of political tension, worldwide epidemic or war, or general fear on where the markets are going to be moving forward.

We have seen aluminum moving little to no price per pound over the last few months and it is becoming an upsetting thing for multiple aluminum traders, as well as thousands of scrappers that we talk to and hear from. With aluminum being one of the more common metals that we find in our everyday Scrapping lives, it’s tough to stomach prices that are as low as they are and we can only hope to see that change in the second half of this year, but there are multiple turns that have to be taken and steps that have to be put into place to see this happen.  

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/29 – 2/4):




Wilkes Barre, PA Brass Shells $0.70 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.20 / lb
Lake Charles, LA Clean ACR $1.01 / lb
Independence, KS #2 Copper Tubing $1.65 / lb
Tarrentum, PA Aluminum Siding $0.30 / lb
Warsaw, IN Car/Truck Batteries $0.20 / lb
Houston, TX Compressors $0.08 / lb
Burlington, NC Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb
Mt. Vernon, NY Insulated Copper Wire $0.55 / lb
Warner, GA Romex® Wire $0.89 / lb
Mesa, AZ Brass $0.87 / lb
Holland, MI 500/750 Insulated Cable $1.50 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Steel Looks To Stabilize

We have seen the iron and steel market drop about $20 per ton over the last 2 to 3 weeks and it seems like those markets will now stabilize for the rest of the month. While we pay attention to these markets extremely closely, we are always looking to see different factors that will affect them going into the upcoming months. As we talked about a few moments ago with the oil prices dropping 15% this will ultimately impact the steel prices in the downward trend.

We have seen the reported prices go through the iScrap App, as well as through our partnering websites like our social media group and emails that we have gotten in and these markets have shown a large pullback over the last two weeks which has just backed up the information that we continue to provide for you. We will continue to monitor this and talk to as many traders as we can as we try to figure out what’s going on moving forward.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/29 – 2/4):




Kansas City, KS #1 Steel $100 /ton
Modesto, CA Shreddable Steel $70 /ton
Corsica, PA Light Iron $110 /ton
Richmond, IN Automobiles $105 /ton
Vernal, UT Cast Iron $40 /ton
Yakima, WA #1 Steel $90 /ton
Savannah, GA Tin $0.05 /lb
North Kingstown, RI Light Iron $0.05 /lb
Watertown, NY Cast Iron $95 /ton
Chandler, AZ Shreddable Steel $70 /ton
Loves Park, IL #1 Steel $110 /ton

Other Markets

CATS. CATS. CATS. It seems to be one of the most talked-about items in our scrap metal recycling group and with rhodium prices approaching if not hitting all-time record highs today or tomorrow, we have seen some of these markets continuing to excel. One of the things about the Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium markets is that some of these metals do not have future contracts. What that means is that traders are treating these metals day-to-day and what we could see is a large pullback coming out of nowhere, which will affect the catalytic converter pricing.

Now many of us have seen these prices continuing to climb, but we’ve also seen from some of the larger catalytic converter “cat” buyers is a slight pullback in pricing that does not match how aggressive the market has been moving. We have been looking at these markets as well as looking at the catalytic converter prices and trying to get a feel of what is going on, but we think that this has become a bit of a safe haven for multiple commodities traders and investors as the hot item that is on the block right now.

Suggested Reading: How Do I Sell My Scrap Catalytic Converter?

Thank You.

We will continue to look at all types of information that could lead to more positive pieces of news that we can share with you and hope to teach you more about what’s going on in the outside trading world, as well as the inside scrap metal world. Sometimes we try to focus a little more on some of the larger items, so we can see how the trickle-down effect will come into the scrap metal world. If there’s anything that you want us to talk about or produce videos on, please let us know. Until next week, we will scrap you later.

– Tom

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