This Is Not What We Wanted – 8/7/19


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This is not exactly the message that we planned on sharing this week…after seeing the worst week in the stock market in all of 2019, we also saw the copper prices get hammered; as more tariffs are going to be levied and the trade war escalation has not seemed to stop.

We have been watching the market and while we see small signs of life, the large drops that we saw last week were so big, that they are going to have a negative impact, for a long time.

Quick Numbers

  • 164,000 – U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in July
  • $0.26 per lb. – The amount that copper has dropped since the market topped off 17 days ago.
  • $7 per ton – Average increase over the last 7 days on most grades of steel.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

We love seeing creative ideas and we all know that in the scrap world, you have to be creative all of the time. This is a simple solution for the tall dumpsters that you want to pack, yet cannot reach the top. This week we have seen scrapper Steve B. use a little innovation to climb to the top without getting hurt

Share your scrap hacks with us online to get featured in our weekly report.


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Drops With Trade War Looming

As copper prices dropped about $0.26 per pound over the last few weeks, it has been nothing short of tough.  Since the Chinese negotiations seem to be at a very rough spot and with President Trump announcing more tariffs going in effect on September 1st, we are seeing the market really get hit. Copper has continued to be one of the weakest base metals in all of 2019 and aluminum has not been far behind it.  We have seen small signs of life periodically throughout the year and we’re hoping to see that happen again.   Overall, we have seen this market continue to see uncertainty and not have any real direction moving forward. 

It seems that neither side plans on backing down from their trade stance and because of that, we have seen the Chinese currency dropping and different countries and politicians accusing the Chinese of currency manipulation; which will also de-value copper and other metals that we look to get prices on weekly. We have talked to many people over the last couple of weeks, that think the Chinese are getting ready to buckle down and wait until the 2020 Election takes place; taking the gamble of a short term problem with the US; with the potential of a new president coming in next year. 

The optimism for the market does not seem like it is going anywhere right now; as most news indications are that we are in for a tough 2019.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/31 – 8/6):




Freeport, IL Sheet Aluminum $0.30 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.25 / lb
Chattanooga, TN Brass $1.20 / lb
Iowa Falls, IA Insulated Copper Wire $0.20 / lb
Springfield, VA Electric Motors (Aluminum) $0.12 / lb
Stockton, CA #2 Copper Tubing $1.95 / lb
Dayton, OH Aluminum Siding $0.33 / lb
Hobbs, NM #2/3 Mix Copper $1.89 / lb
Hutchinson, MN Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb
Prestonburg, KY #1 Copper Tubing $2.15 / lb
Bremen, GA Brass $1.40 / lb
Shamrock, TX Insulated Copper Wire $0.30 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Demand For Steel?

With one of the hottest and hardest parts of the summer already gone, we have started to see an increase in demand for the steel and iron market. We have seen the prices climb about seven dollars per ton over the last week, through reported pricing and hope that goes up more towards the end of the month.

With oil prices dropping about 10% over the last week and a half; including an 8% decline in a single day, we have seen the market reacting in no solid pattern.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/31 – 8/6)):




Elgin, IL Cast Iron $90 /ton
Oakland, CA #1 Steel $70 /ton
Nashville, TN Unprepared HMS $80 /ton
Holden, MO Washing Machines $120 /ton
Moulton, AL Cast Iron $120 /ton
Conesville, IA #1 Steel $70 /ton
Lonoke, AR Unprepared HMS $65 /ton
Prestonburg, KY #2 Heavy Melting Steel $0.07 /lb.
Flat Rock, NC Cast Iron $80 /ton
Orrington, ME Unprepared HMS $120 /ton
Kitchener, Ontario* #1 Steel $120 /ton

Other Markets

The price of gold has risen to a multi-year high; with the yellow metal fast approaching $1,500 per ounce. This is not completely surprising, considering that gold is always one of the metals and commodities that increases with so much economic uncertainty surrounding it. We have also seen multiple markets; such as aluminum continuing to weaken, as these trade and tariff negotiations have affected the overall market and do not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 

Thank You.

When difficult news comes in; we never like to be the people to share it, but we do want you to know what’s going on. If you become a Patron through our Patreon page, you will be able to get even more real-time market updates, news, and different opinions on where, why and how the market is reacting, due to outside economic factors. 

– Tom

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*Canadian Dollar