The Copper Rollercoaster May Crash Soon – 1/26/22


Scrap Happens…and we love it. 

We saw a bunch of craziness in the market last week, but that seems to be regular nowadays. We’ve seen the stock market dive over 1000 points one day only to go down 800 points the next day, and somehow both of those days, the market ends up close to even. This affects the Scrap market because any instability, insignificant world markets, whether commodity-driven or stock-driven, will have an upsetting factor.

The good news is that the markets still seem to be holding their ground, showing that the world economy while slowing down, is still moving at a solid and steady pace which is a positive outlook for the rest of the year. One market that has started to show more signs of life recently has been the nickel market, including different grades of stainless steel. These markets have seen nice price increases to levels we have not seen in many years.

Non-Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • Copper – SELL

  • Aluminum – SELL

  • Brass – SELL

  • Copper Wire – SELL

  • Stainless Steel – SELL

Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen copper go up and down a total of about $1 per pound. We’ve seen daily drops of $0.11 and increases of $0.16, mixed with some variations up and down. These are not seen as positive signs as it also shows that world investors are not entirely optimistic of where the markets could be going even though copper seems to have found a floor. 

Aluminum prices had been getting hit slightly, but they have a nice comeback getting put together right now as most nonferrous markets have.

Non-Ferrous Price Chart of the Week


Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • #1 Steel – HOLD

  • Shreddable Steel – SELL

  • Light Iron – SELL

  • Cast Iron – HOLD

  • Complete Car – SELL

It’s been a sideways market over the last 2 to 3 weeks. We are expecting to see the steel prices remaining relatively stagnant throughout the next 4 to 6 weeks. With significant world factors like the price of oil and potential market disruptors of natural gas, we could start to see a bit of a stalemate on the steel front for the seeable future. That might last for another two months as world events, and oil prices work themselves out.

As one of the slower times of the year, we have traditionally seen steel prices dip down after Christmas and before Easter as the markets tend to take a break from an end-of-the-year holiday rush. Don’t be worried if you think that your scrap yard is the only one that has been dropping steel prices; it’s happening across the country.

Ferrous Price Chart of the Week

Other Metal Markets

Scrap Batteries I’ve become one of the hardest to move materials in the country, ranging from regular alkaline to lead-acid batteries. These materials have become less desirable as new products like lithium batteries and other battery grades have emerged into the markets. They have downgraded the scrap value of many traditional batteries and increased the cost to get rid of batteries that were already expensive to move.

Other metals like diecast and zinc have remained at slow-moving price ranges as we have been trying to follow them and see what happens. Zinc has a very strong outlook as it is used very often to coat different grades of steel.

Catalytic Converter Prices & Market Status

  • Catalytic Converters – SELL

With higher than anticipated price increases over the last few weeks, we have seen the prices of catalytic converters rising across the country. With scrap prices on all three precious metal groups either being stable or having small increases day after day for the last two weeks, we have seen the markets recover nicely and put the catalytic converter markets back into a stronger position. Coupled with the fact that car manufacturers are getting more cars pushed out and continuing to use more and more precious metals to improve their emission standards overall which will lead to catalytic converter scrap values remaining high for most of the year.

Thank you for tuning in! Let us know what else we can talk about to help you learn more about the markets and where they are going. Don’t forget to post your scrap prices too!

– Tom


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