Tariffs & Trades: Dropping Prices – 5/22/19

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Ugly. This is certainly getting ugly right now. These markets are becoming extremely volatile and with a lot of questions on what’s going to happen with the trade and tariffs negotiations, we have seen them prices declining.

Not only has the aluminum and copper market been declining the steel market has been doing it as well. 

Quick Numbers

  • $0.08 per lb – The drop in copper prices.
  • 7 weeks – How many weeks in a row that steel prices have gone down.
  • 29 Days – Until President Xi and President Trump meet in person. Let’s cross our fingers it goes well.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

Many people always look for the inexpensive and easy tool- sometimes it is always worth getting the better and more expensive one. Also knowing someone who has experience with a tool will help you get guidance as well. We have found over the years that buying cheaper tools may not be a bad idea as they could give you the ability to learn how to use the, pay the off through upgrading material, and then being able to get the better and more expensive tool as you understand the concept of how the tool works. Check out this post from Rich M. on just that topic.


Non-Ferrous Market News

We like sharing positive and uplifting news on the pricing but lately, it has not been anything like that. Now we know that there are always times that the markets go up, down, and all over – this, unfortunately, is one of those times. The last few weeks we’ve reached out to multiple scrappers and they have told us that they are holding onto a lot of copper and brass. A lot of them have said they want to wait to see what happens with the tariffs and trade negotiations. That was the copper market falling another seven or eight cents a pound the last week we have started to see more and more companies including larger yard holding onto their materials.

Suggested Reading: 6 Best Strategies For A Dropping Scrap Market

To answer the next question that many of you will have which would be, “What is going to happen with the markets going forward?” The answer is not as easy as you would think because we have a holiday and the potential meeting between President Trump and the president of China in a few weeks. A lot of these markets are in a wait-and-see mode to see what happens as a result of the in-person meeting at the G20 summit.

In the meantime, you should not expect much movement in the market other than in a downward trend as we are really trying to figure out what’s going to happen going forward. We have seen prices that have been getting reported on copper and brass slowly going down and it might escalate even further than we are seeing right now.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (5/15 – 5/21):




Sterling Heights, MI Lead Batteries $0.20 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.42 / lb
Woodinville, WA Copper Transformers $0.16 / lb
Lackawanna, NY Brass $1.44 / lb
Conroe, TX Stainless Steel $0.33 / lb
Smithfield, NC Insulated Copper Wire $0.36 / lb
Penrose, CO #1 Copper Tubing $1.70 / lb
Tinton Falls, NJ Aluminum Siding $0.29 / lb
Marshfield, WI #2 Copper Tubing $2.10 / lb
Columbus, GA Ballasts $0.07 / lb
Burlington, KY Electric Motors (Copper) $0.08 / lb
Dexter, MO Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb

Ferrous Market News

The iron market has been very interesting to watch and we know the “interesting” does not always bring good news. While we have continued to see these prices decrease we have seen a few small signs of life moving forward. One thing that we have read about it or trying to figure out is the iron ore market from mining operations.

We read an article that the Chinese have been mining a lot of iron ore and growing their supply in the country as they produce about half of the world’s steel. While they might not be taking many metals in from the United States right now, they are continuing to buy materials from other countries throughout the world.

With these other prices for the iron ore going up, a lot of the scrap prices have gone down but a lot of that is mostly due to the tariffs and trade negotiations that are ongoing. On top of that, you have the possibility of a further complication with the Iranians and gas prices.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (5/15 – 5/21):




Corfu, NY Complete Car $90 /ton
Amarillo, TX Shreddable Steel $0.035 /lb
Ogden, UT Scrap Iron $70 /ton
Fairmont City, IL Rotors $0.11 /lb
Vinton, VA Cast Iron $120 /ton
Traverse City, MI #1 Steel $110 /ton
Mckeesport, PA Light Iron $70 /ton
Vidor, TX Shreddable Steel $100 /ton
Taylor, MO Cast Iron $105 /ton
Maple Grove, MN Light Iron $80 /ton
Alpharetta, GA #1 Steel $80 /ton

Other Markets

Other than that we have not had much positive news other than reading a lot of the great articles, seeing pictures, and reading stories about what you are doing out in the scrap world. 

Thank You.

– Tom

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