War, Oil, Inflation: All Fueling High Scrap Prices – 3/30/22


Markets Roaring!

Talk about insanity in the markets. We see absolutely no signs of stability or anything that resembles a regular trading pattern right now. These markets have been all over the place, and it’s not only due to the war in Ukraine but also because of the continued inflation and commodity surges due to oil restrictions. We are seeing massive changes in the world economic picture due to so many oil prices increasing. These oil prices are leading countries worldwide to scramble to supply enough to meet their demand, and we may see these commodity prices continue in the surge for the rest of the year and beyond.

After a couple of members of our staff spent last week at a recycling conference, we saw and heard that the state of the industry is not only strong but expecting these prices to continue to stay up. These markets are reacting to the last 2.5 years of unprecedented times and continue to respond to different world events, and the roller coaster continues. 

Non-Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • Copper – SELL

  • Aluminum – SELL

  • Brass – SELL

  • Copper Wire – SELL

  • Stainless Steel – SELL

Copper markets are bucking periodic trends and jumping higher and higher. With oil prices going up and going down, usually, we would see some reaction with copper. We have not seen this reaction as the markets have stabilized and increased recently. We have seen copper prices continuing to surge, and as we track the reported prices across the country, we are seeing higher and higher copper prices than ever. These copper prices will lead to consumer prices for cars and everyday electronics surging in the coming months and years.
On the scrap side of things, it’s great to see these markets up because all of the hard work you put in is being rewarded with higher prices and higher returns, but overall this will be a long-term sign of inflation coming. All of these higher commodity prices, from oil to copper, will lead to the markets increasing, and all goods will be rising at the same time. We have to watch out for how quickly the commodity increases, followed by the inflationary. And that’s just part of the overall puzzle. 

Non-Ferrous Price Chart of the Week


Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • #1 Steel – SELL

  • Shreddable Steel –  SELL

  • Light Iron – SELL

  • Cast Iron – SELL

  • Complete Car – SELL

Many people think that Russia produces much of the world’s iron which is not valid. That’s one of the reasons people believe that some of the steel prices have been surging the way they have in the last month and a half. One of the more prominent reasons is the oil price increase, and a lot of steel is trying to get poured into these different furnaces across the world before oil prices go up even further. Even though many furnaces are not run on oil or gas, they tend to rely on fossil fuels, and higher prices will lead to higher operating costs. 
As everyone tries to get their head wrapped around what is going on in such a short 16 month period of time, it just shows how different administrations’ perspectives on energy can cause other domino effects to happen.

Ferrous Price Chart of the Week

Catalytic Converter Prices & Market Status

  • Catalytic Converters – SELL

On Tuesday, we heard about potential retreating and more peace talks coming out of Ukraine. That led to different commodities like platinum and palladium having 3 to 7% decreases during those peace talks. Many people would hope that it may not be too late to take the entire Russian economy off-line, which led to some of the price declines. This morning we heard quite the opposite as more bombings were happening, which has led to platinum and palladium having a quick reversal and going up to the prices that they ended last week at. 
The strong catalytic converter market will continue for the foreseeable future as many of these precious metals are used not only inside catalytic converters but also in microprocessors and other types of high-grade electronics. These markets will continue to be turbulent as the war continues.

Other Metal Markets: 

With aluminum prices skyrocketing and the nickel market continuing to excel, we see a high demand for these products. Metals like nickel, primarily used in stainless steel and other high-temperature alloys, are now being used for electric vehicle battery manufacturing and are causing price surges, unlike some we’ve seen in the past. Add to those items like cobalt which is also used in electric vehicle batteries, has prices surging as many areas of the world look for new supplies. 

Thank You.

These markets are tough to dissect and figure out as we seem to be bouncing around from day to day and week to week. If you have any ideas or questions that can be applied to the scrap industry, please let us know so we can start to talk about it.

We have a couple of videos and podcasts that feature some interviews with family inside the Scrap business and with Scrappers. If you’re looking to be featured, interviewed, or even interview any of the people at iScrap, let us know so we can get it together.

– Tom


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