This Week’s Scrap Metal Prices & Market News

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Where Is Rock Bottom For Copper?

ALSO: Reports of China dumping tons of Steel

Report Date: 5/17/23

Hey Scrappers!

Over the last week in the markets, we have not seen a lot of good news coming out. Copper prices are down more than $0.55 over the last three weeks with traders expecting them to go down another $0.20 per pound and stay there for the foreseeable future. One of the main reasons is the growth of the dollar over 2022 as well as the beginning life of demand for red metals as the worldwide economy begins to slow down.

There have been market indicators, such as the trucking industry, which have started to show the markets dropping off significantly. Some of the trucking numbers may surprise you as the trucking demand is down more than 70% for third-party truckers over the last 17 months. These numbers are going to continue to be on the downward side of things as inflation continues, and as goods and new purchases start to decrease.

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Non-Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • Copper – HOLD

  • Aluminum – HOLD

  • Brass – HOLD

  • Copper Wire – HOLD

  • Stainless Steel – HOLD


Why has the Copper market fallen?

As Copper prices have fallen many people have begun to ask why. Even though there are many green technological innovations and ideas taking place; they are not taking place fast enough to increase the demand for copper significantly. That and the fact that many traders have taken over copper contracts, where they trade copper, similar to the way that they trade stocks. That has changed the market landscape over the last few years and will not be changing anytime soon.

When things were busy in 2021 we saw that large rush up in prices, but as the global injection of new money along with interest rates hikes have piled on…these price demands are waning.

Another large decrease in the markets comes from the aluminum side of things. The London Metal Exchange (LME) recently stated that over 50% of their supply originated from Russia. This could cause a problem as many countries said that they will not buy Russian metals. This oversupply of aluminum could actually decrease the price of aluminum more over time.

An overall boycott does seem unlikely to be taking place though. As the London Metal Exchange continues to have these metals in its inventories, they will continue to push prices down. Many traders figure that if the LME was to remove Russian aluminum from the exchange that the prices will decrease even more.



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Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices

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Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • #1 Steel – SELL

  • Shreddable Steel – SELL

  • Light Iron – SELL

  • Cast Iron – SELL

  • Complete Car – SELL


Steel Demand Still Falling

Prices of Steel have fallen significantly with reports that the Chinese are dumping millions of tons of scrap Steel into the market because there isn’t a large need or demand right now. This causes problems as many of the people relying on the price of Steel and the older schools of thought will be disappointed; we may not see pricing increase any time for the balance of 2023.

Once upon a time, Steel prices were closely tied to oil prices, and as the market has quickly shifted, the old rules have changed as well. One large trader that we talked to said that they expect steel prices to go down to $100 per ton on the light iron side of things which would be more than a 50% drop from the levels they are already at.

Suggested Reading: If Oils Rise, Do Scrap Metal Prices Rise?

Ferrous Scrap Prices

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Catalytic Converter Prices & Market Status

  • Catalytic Converters – SELL


Over the last week, we have seen the price of catalytic converters shifting upwards again. We have seen news coming out that there is a potential shortage on the horizon. The value of catalytic converters will go up over the next few years as more carbon emission laws go into effect. Most gasoline catalytic converters are laced with Platinum and Palladium, whereas diesel catalytic converters are filled with Rhodium.

While this is not true for everything, he said, it is a good rule of thumb is the lack of platinum that’s out there we could start to see this increase taking place now, and lasting for the next few years. Many people were worried that the decreasing prices may be a long-term problem as electric vehicles take shape; but in hindsight, it looks like it may be part of a bigger solution for higher prices as more platinum is going to be packed into catalytic converters to help curb emissions as well as being placed into chemical facilities, energy-producing facilities, as well as other facilities that rely on fossil fuels to help the carbon capture accelerate.

The team at RRCats has continued to hold pricing for quoted catalytic converters for ten business days and free shipping on all OEM catalytic converters. If you want to learn how it works, please get in touch with someone at

During the month of May, everyone who sends two or more OEM catalytic converters will be receiving a free T-shirt at the end of the month.

10-Day Price Lock for Catalytic Converters

Boosted Catalytic Converter Prices at RRCats

For a price lock of 10 days, don’t hesitate to contact Team for a better idea of catalytic converter markets and free shipping on OEM cats.

SPECIAL: Catalytic Converters Law Changes

Many of you that were running scrap metal back in the early 2000s may remember showing up to the scrapyard dropping off your materials getting paid and leaving. Nowadays this is still the case but one important thing has changed. Government driver’s licenses are now required to sell scrap in all 50 states as new scrap laws have gone into effect. These problems happened after there were large spikes in copper pricing and scrap started to become something that was stolen.

Once catalytic converter prices increase in 2021 and 2022 we started to see lawmakers responding similarly to how they did with the copper boom. Many states have already done, or are now enacting laws that curb the sale of catalytic converters. They make it so that buyers of catalytic converters need more information like VIN numbers and documents to prove that those cats are eligible for scrapping and can be traced. These laws have gone into effect in dozens of states with many state legislators having further discussions already in queue.

What’s Coming Next

Please let us know any videos or topics that you would like us to talk about and will be sure to get those on the list and posted in the next few weeks.

Thanks for tuning in this week; please check out our weekly report every week, as well as many of our other YouTube videos that can teach you about the markets, including prices, qualities, and other things about Scrap.

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