Welcome to 2020, Is Steel The Meal? – 1/8/20

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As Barbara Walters famously said, “Welcome to 2020.”

2020 has certainly started off with a bang with multiple pieces of news going on around the world from problems in the Middle East to fires in Australia. Our stance is that we hope that everyone remains safe and hopefully, we start to see metal prices picking up. Australia is one of the world’s largest mining facilities and seeing the devastation of over 20,000,000 acres lost and 1 billion animals potentially killed is heartbreaking.

The markets have been relatively calm this year with steel prices picking up, copper prices staying even.  And now we wait to see what happens on January 15th with the agreement between the United States and the Chinese slated to be signed at the White House. We’re hoping that this will start to bring further clarity and stability to the markets, as we wait to see what happens moving forward.

Quick Numbers

  • 2013 – That was the last year that we saw gold prices as high as they are today. With prices at seven-year highs due to unstable overseas markets, we are paying attention to see what happens. While many people would expect the electronics market to immediately pick up, with gold becoming used less and less over the years, we have seen it not as aggressive. 

Social Scrap from Our Facebook Group

Brass ends from plugs are worth money – but is your time worth doing it? Some people save them for the dead of winter to pull them out, while others sell them to scrap yards as low copper-bearing material (CBM). This week iScrapper Wesley C. ask that question to others with mixed reactions and answers to it. Tell us what you think by commenting or emailing us at [email protected]!

Watch This Video on Copper-Bearing Material


Non-Ferrous Market News

Copper Remains Even After December Jump

With copper prices staying relatively calm this year, we have been watching them and hoping to see some type of an uptick moving forward. Overall, with the markets relatively flat compared to before the holidays; we are happy to see a stable market which means it makes it much easier to be able to buy and sell material and while you’re collecting you’ll be able to see a more secure market.

We have heard reports of hundreds of different facilities throughout the United States holding onto thousands of pounds of copper expecting the market to creep up as a trade deal nears completion and the middle of the year comes closer. One of the biggest things that we will be watching this year that will affect a lot of the trade pricing is the 2020 presidential election.

This US Presidential Election will be crucial not only for the world political structure but also for the trade structure with multiple countries. While President Trump has pushed over the last couple of years to get the Chinese on to a more even playing field, if he gets re-elected, we might see further trade talks escalating in a more positive way, but that is yet to be seen. These trade talks would have a large impact on the aluminum market as it has remained at year-long lows as the market has shown little to no signs of improvement.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/1 – 1/7):




Cedar Hill, MO Aluminum Cans $0.30 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.40 / lb
Hermon, ME #1 Copper Tubing $2.00 / lb
Ashland, VA #2 Copper Tubing $1.80 / lb
Paton, IA Aluminum Siding $0.15 / lb
McCalla, AL Aluminum Copper Coil $0.80 / lb
Savannah, GA Brass Turnings $1.45 / lb
Pueblo, CO Electric Motors (Copper) $0.10 / lb
Hayward, CA Hard Drives $0.40 / lb
Lincoln, NE Aluminum Radiators $0.17 / lb
Hutchinson, KS Computer Wire $0.14 / lb
Kamloops, British Columbia * #1 Copper Tubing $2.20 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Steel Has Jumped Up This Year

With some nice positive news, we have seen the markets rise again this month jumping up another $15-$20 per ton. We have now seen the iron market jump multiple months in a row after a large decline, the end of the third quarter. This is a great sign going into the new year as new projects will be starting and we will start to see further growth in the overall market. With the United States producing so much oil compared to years past and becoming one of the largest oil exporters in the world we have seen the gas and oil prices remain low which is a great thing because it will help to have a stable market instead of large fluctuations like we have seen in the past.

While many of you remember the times where light iron was $250 a ton or more, we don’t expect to see that happening in the first half of this year, but if we do see a potential re-election of President Trump then we may see a more stable overseas market going into next year according to multiple reports.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (1/1 – 1/7):




Provo, UT #1 Steel $45 /ton
Sparks, NV Shreddable Steel $25 /ton
Van Wert, OH Cast Iron $140 /ton
Milan, IL Sheet Iron $70 /ton
Stafford, NY Light Iron $120 /ton
Poplar Bluff, MO Complete Car $120 /ton
Dodge City, KS #1 Prepared $125 /ton
Jacksonville, FL #1 Steel $40 /ton
Bakersfield, CA Cast Iron $50 /ton
Warner, GA Shreddable Steel $70 /ton
Elkton, MD #1 Steel $5.50 /CW

Other Markets

Catalytic Converter Metals Are Rising…

With tensions in the Middle East, we have seen some of the rhodium plate prices climb into near record highs, if not record highs. We’ve also seen some of the palladium prices gain as well which is added to the catalytic converter market having an increase overall. In addition, we’ve seen those gold prices tick up to highs better than the last seven years and we are watching that closely to see what happens with some of the escalating problems in the Middle East, as well as first-quarter predictions domestically.

Thank You.

We hope that everyone had a nice 2019 holiday season and it was a successful year overall for all of your scrap metal needs. We look forward to earning your comments and sharing more information with you in the scrap metal market.

– Tom

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