Volatile Prices for Copper Scrap – 10/6/21


Let’s Talk Pancakes 🥞 

What do pancakes and scrap have in common? You constantly flip-flop them and sometimes get burned. They come out looking pretty well most of the time, but you have to deal with standing there waiting. That’s kind of how we feel right now with scrap prices how they’re flipping back and forth.

The copper markets have moved about $0.75-0.80 over the last six trading days, and that’s not a good sign. That’s showing high volatility and could lead to more downward pressures on the markets in the coming weeks and months. For example, last week, copper prices jumped $0.05/lb up and then over the next two days went down over $0.23/lb only to regain $0.18 and then drop another $0.10. Here, we’ll give you a visual representation. 

⬆️ $0.05

⬇️ $0.23

⬆️ $0.18

⬇️ $0.10

This is not the type of action we want to see in the markets, as it only causes a headache for large traders and pricing changes.

Quick Numbers

  • $150/tonne – The iron ore price is expected to reach $150 per tonne by late 2021, before falling to $93 per tonne by the end of 2022, according to a report released by Australia’s department of industry, science, energy & resources.
  • 5.5% increase – Natural gas prices soared on concerns about a shortfall in stockpiles heading into winter. U.S. gas futures rose 5.5% to $6.08 per million British thermal units.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

The definition of getting your hands dirty 🤲 🧼 Can we suggest some gloves

Dirty hands

Making the best out of a bad situation. That’s quite the payday 💰


Featured Question

Question: Does radiation escape when you use that gun [XRF analyzer]? If you were holding the part in your hand, would you be exposed?

Tom: “Radiation is contained, and you should keep your hands away. There is a radiation monitoring ring to make sure it is not heavily exposed.”


Non-Ferrous Market News

Good News / Bad News 🥲

Let’s start with some good news. The aluminum markets have continued to thrive, with prices staying on a solid path. The bad news is that some suppliers have an overabundance of material coming in and cannot process everything as quickly as possible. After talking to a scrap yard that trades large volumes of aluminum, they have appointments pushed out into the first quarter of next year for material delivery.

This will be a problem because of the significant bottlenecks that will happen if aluminum processors cannot bring material in. So when scrap yards and other scrap producers do not have an easy way to move material, you will start to see the prices drifting lower. This is why we try to highlight things on a macro basis instead of a week-to-week pricing basis.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/29 – 10/5):




Cullman, AL Dirty AL Extrusion $0.55 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.55 / lb
Knoxville, TN #2/3 Mix Copper $2.50 / lb
Bronson, MI Yellow Brass $01.65 / lb
Pueblo, CO #1 Copper Tubing $2.80 / lb
Sheridan, AR Car/Truck Batteries $0.10 / lb
Port St. Lucie, FL Aluminum 6063 $0.80 / lb
Louisville, KY Computer Wire $0.90 / lb
Portland, OR #2 Copper Tubing $3.35 / lb
Rochester, NY Insulated Aluminum Wire $0.20 / lb
Jacksonville, NC Compressors $0.19 / lb
Hayward, CA 304 Stainless Steel $0.70 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Mounting Pressure On Steel 💥

With oil prices hitting seven-year highs, we have continued to see mounting pressure against the steel markets. The good part is that there is such a demand for heavy metal that we continue to see the prices staying consistent. With markets relatively unchanged over the last six weeks, we expect to see these prices continuing for the rest of this month and possibly the rest of the year.

If you’re looking to learn how the prices could be moving, we suggest paying attention to your local yard and seeing if they start to have a smaller pile or enormous pile versus a regular rise that you may see over the year. This will show you if they are moving material quickly due to price drops, or it could also show that they’re having problems moving material. You could always ask your local yard, but the amount of material you see is sometimes a good indicator.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/29 – 10/5):




Madison, WI #2 HMS $190 / ton
Lacey, WA Shreddable Steel $0.09 / lb
Auburn, ME Light Iron $115 / ton
Oakland, ME Complete Car $110 / ton
Georgetown, DE Tin $9.00 / CW
Salina, KS Unprepared HMS $120 / ton
Peabody, MA Light Iron $170 / ton
Kalispell, MT Unprepared Cast Iron $0.04 / lb
Cleveland, OH Rotors $250 / ton
Bedford, IN #2 HMS $140 / ton
Benton, MI Scrap Iron $180 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Downward Trending Metals 📉

There are a few different materials that scrap yards have started to have difficulty moving, and it’s worth mentioning. Lead-acid car batteries and other lead acid-based batteries have become much more challenging to move, with profits much lower on these items and prices moving little to none. The second item that you might want to think about looking into is sealed units or compressors. Multiple countries overseas that generally take these still have very heavy Covid lockdowns, and we have seen a low mood on prices for these for the rest of the year.

Catalytic Converter Market News


Will The Auto Industry Recoup? 🚗

We have finally seen a two-week stabilization in the precious metals markets for catalytic converters, as all three metals have calmed down after a very crazy beginning of September. Moving into the rest of the month, we have not heard of any significant movements expected to occur. Still, one of the most important things to watch will be how the auto industry responds and rebounds from the semiconductor shortage. This has been one of the single, if not the most significant reason, that the markets have gone down since auto manufacturers cannot move cars out of production and into the market.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (9/29 – 10/5):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Honda 02 Slant $457/@
Foreign Large $270/@
Domestic High Grade $240/@
Domestic Low $86/@
LG Breadloaf $142/@
Bead Jumbo $108/@


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See you all next week! 👋

– Tom


News We’re Following:

*Canadian Dollar

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