Time To “Bird Box” The Steel Prices – 1/9/19

Hey iScrappers!

With the first full week of 2019 in full swing, we are looking at our crystal balls to see what is going on in the market and how things could be affected going forward. While the metal and commodity prices have been slightly up over the last few days, we have seen a very small shift and very little news over that period of time. 

With gas prices increasing slightly with the news that the OPEC countries have curbed their production down we expect that to have an impact on the markets- but we have to wait and see how. 

Quick Numbers

  • 312,000 Jobs – That is how many were added in December 2018, while that number is generally higher each year because of the holidays, this was still over 100,000 more than expected.
  • 3.2% – That is the percentage in wage growth in December, as well as many companies, are increasing base pay and that has been a very positive sign overall. 
  • $2.01 – Average price per pound for copper over the last 7 days across the US/Canada.

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

One of the more popular news feeds and conversation starters that we have seen have continued to be the talk about catalytic converters. These (other than bare bright) are one of the more desirable items for scrappers to get- and we have seen so many people get into arguments about the cats that it is almost crazy.

We have learned that there are multiple right answers and sometimes people have to learn that others are sometimes right. Here is a conversation over the last week


Non-Ferrous Market News

We saw copper prices jump at the end of last week and remain relatively consistent since then- the next problem is what is going to happen on March 1st. With many people diverting their opinions and eyes towards the political arguments many people have pushed the meeting with the Chinese and the trade negotiations with tariffs aside. This will become one of the major points of contention and will shape the entire 2019 metal prices.

This could become a very large, quick, and fast jolt in metals prices – but we still are in a wait and see because of little to no news on the Chinese front. With positive meetings taking place the last couple of days and more positive meetings happening as we type (or you read) – we may be in for a few nice surprises coming up soon.

While aluminum and copper are generally the lead stories here, the Nickel market (aka stainless steel) has been hammered and we have seen prices reported as low as $0.17 per lb for clean 304 SS. Yikes!

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/2/19 – 1/8/19):




Brenham, TX Stainless Steel $0.26/lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.30/lb
Puyallup, WA Sheet Aluminum $0.05/lb
Amery, WI #2/3 Mixed Copper $1.80/lb
Burbank, WA #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $1.95/lb
Binghamton, NY Aluminum Radiators $0.35/lb
South Beloit, IL Insulated Copper Wire $0.55/lb
Eugene, OR #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.28/lb
Okeechobee, FL Compressors $0.10/lb
Halifax, Nova Scotia* Insulated Copper Wire $1.10/lb
Glenwood, MN Brass Scrap $1.40/lb
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia* #2/3 Mixed Copper $2.75/lb
Lindsay, Ontario* Cast Aluminum $0.08/lb
Brooklyn, NY #1 Copper Tubing $2.35/lb

Ferrous Market News

This is going to be something similar to that new movie on Netflix called Bird Box where you might want to cover your eyes because opening them will not be good. The markets have continued to get pummeled and we have seen massive drops of $50-100 per ton on many items with heavier grades of steel leading the way.


With the markets eroding as they have been, we have to watch and make sure that we are wary of the market declines- but know that we have tough times here and coming. We have seen people talking online about the potential border wall and how much it would cost- and maybe that would make steel go up. We want to remind you that the problem with the steel market is not that there is not enough scrap- but that there is not enough overall demand. 

One individual project is great- but consistent manufacturing and production lines are much better and will provide the increase in steel prices long term. If we are able to get a solution between the US and China- you will see a large increase in all metals prices almost immediately. 

Check Out This Social Post About Steel:

It provides great insight into people’s thoughts and counter arguments on the border wall.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/2/19 – 1/8/19):




Rapid City, SD Shreddable Steel $70/ton
Fitchburg, MA Light Iron $120/ton
Durham, NC Shreddable Steel $180/ton
Burbank, WA #1 Prepared $130/ton
Jefferson, GA Shreddable Steel $120/ton
Warrentown, MO Light Iron $100/ton
Cheyenne, WY Shreddable Steel $40/ton
Youngsville, NC #1 Steel $70/ton
Woodinville, WA Light Iron $0.03/lb

Other Markets

Gold has continued to rally and we have seen the yellow metal approaching ,300 per ounce. With instability in the stock markets, tariff debates, not to mention political arguments- we really are in a way and see approach. 

If we are able to see a successful negotiation between the US and China – we would be able to see a large.

Thank You.

Let us know what you are seeing in the markets and we will make sure to get it into next weeks report- hoping to get you more information!

– Tom

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