Well, Copper Prices Just Got Complicated – 7/21/21


Up & Down Markets 📊

Eenie, meenie, miney, mo… catch a scrapper by putting copper out and letting him know that the prices are still up.

Playing games seems to be the new normal coming out of Wall Street and all the commodity traders worldwide. With the new Delta variant throwing all types of monkey wrenches into the commodities and overall trading mix, we have continued to learn new and different ways the markets respond. 

Even after the Chinese government released thousands of pounds of material to help curb some prices, we did not see much price movement on the downward side. Minor reductions in copper and steel prices are expected during the middle of summer, especially when traders on Wall Street have been able to make so much money off of copper and other commodities. Generally, the summer is a slower trading month, and the prices reflect that, but this year probably bucks multiple trends.

Quick Numbers

  •  $4.18/lb – Copper futures fell on Monday (7/19/21) to $4.18/lb amid worries of a COVID-19 resurgence. 
  • $14 billion – Government spending for development and incentives on EVs totaled $14 billion last year. 🎧 Listen to our Podcast about EVs

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

Last week we asked our Facebook group what their go-to Sawzall was. The overwhelming answer: Milwaukee, followed by DeWalt 🪚


For your and our enjoyment, here’s another scrap meme. 

Featured Question

Question: Do larger scrap yards generally pay better for scrap steel or metals in general?

Tom: “Yes they do, but there are many scrap yards that are smaller and deal direct with mills. When that happens it gives them the ability to work with customers more.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

We’re Confused… 😵‍💫

While they might not have the highest pricing, the aluminum markets have continued to shine through overall. With market climbing and some people reporting prices for large loads of top grades of aluminum, like 6063 being priced at $0.90 a pound, we have watched these markets in almost a  state of awe. It seems like manufacturing and demand for more stuff continues as prices not only stabilized but are continuing to show strength moving forward.

Now, that six-pack that you pick up on a Friday after work, or if you work from home, you may notice something.  If you order that same six-pack, you will see prices start creeping. Factors like aluminum can prices and transportation prices are bumping the price up for simple goods like adult beverages or even soda.

Copper prices took a $0.14 downward tumble on Monday along with all of the other markets when we saw a massive pullback of almost 800 points, and at one point, over 1000 points in the stock market. While we talk about the stock market often, and some people don’t think that it has a large impact on scrap prices, a lot of these traders have taken copper as well as many other metals under their belt as new trading tools to make money, and they will be able to affect prices because that is just supply and demand. That certainly complicates things a little more.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/14 – 7/20):




Sacramento, CA Old Sheet Aluminum $0.48 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $2.85 / lb
Gainesville, GA Carbide  $5.50 / lb
San Marcos, TX Brass Radiators  $1.81 / lb
Valley Park, MO Aluminum Cans  $0.54 / lb
Paragould AR #1 Copper Tubing  $2.30 / lb
Fort Myers, FL  Insulated Copper Wire $1.00 / lb
Harrisburg, PA  Stainless Steel $0.40 / lb
Albertville, AL Clean AL Wire $0.35 / lb 
Columbus, OH Clean AL Wire $0.55 / lb
Shreveport, LA Lead Batteries – Automotive $0.13 / lb
Calgary, Alberta* #2 #2 Copper Pipe $3.70 / lb 

Ferrous Market News

Oil’s Fault… Again 😒

If you told anyone that you took two slips over a period of two weeks, they would think that you had a bit of a problem and need to get checked out. But here, we see steel prices dip two weeks in a row. The markets have shown signs of weakness with the oil market instability and because it is the middle of the summer, whereas demand and transportation costs are increasing. 

Overall, we have seen the steel price remain fairly high as we’ve seen a slight pullback in the oil markets. We expect to see steel prices pulling back again come August and possibly for a fourth time in September, just based on oil markets getting filled with millions of barrels more per day out of the Middle East. This will cause transportation costs to start to decrease and could be a sign that steel prices will start to go down.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/14 – 7/20):




Elmsford, NY #1 Unprepared  $8.40 / CW
Wood Dale, IL Steel $0.09 / lb
Wynne, AR Scrap Iron $0.13 / lb
Garland, TX Tin Babbitt $0.08 / lb 
Sharon Hill, PA Light Iron $0.10 / lb 
Salina, KS Shreddable Steel $140 /ton
South Windsor, CT #1 Prepared $280 / ton
Scranton, NY Cast Iron $283 / ton
Zion, IL Shreddable Steel $250 / ton
Oklahoma City, OK Shreddable Steel $120 / ton 
St. Catherines, Ontario* Shredding Material $335 / NT 

Other Metal Markets

Stainless steel and the nickel market have finally started to rebound. It’s been nice to see these markets increasing overall since we’ve seen the high-temperature alloy industry is one of the slower-moving ones over this recovery.

The pricing for 304 stainless and 316 stainless increased by over $0.20 this year, which has reinvigorated the market, especially as travel and business travel started to pick up again. We hope that these markets continue and possibly get closer to the $0.80-0.90 range, the way we saw it about seven years ago.

Catalytic Converter Market News



Rhodium Fluctuations 📉

The market stabilized over the last week, even though we did see a bit of a dip on Monday due to the overall financial situation. These markets right now are in a stable position, with rhodium prices being one of the most fluctuating items that have started to gain legs over the last two weeks. This does not mean that we can’t see another epic increase from $18,820 per ounce again, but we’re also expecting a little more calm waters than we were before.

One of the most interesting things that we’ve heard people complaining about regarding their catalytic converter prices has been that the buyers are not always available. Sometimes they could take four or five days to get back to them, and by that time, they need the money for their cats. This has been one of the biggest problems that the team at RRCats.com has been able to identify. Because of that, they started a process for your material that is hopefully easier than any of the other services you’ve dealt with before.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (7/14 – 7/20):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign – Pre $85/@
Foreign – Medium  $352/@
Foreign – Large  $380/ @
Domestic  $215 / @
GM – Small Breadloaf $300/ @
GM – Large Breadload  $200/ @
Bead Jumbo $149/ @


Thank You.

Let us know if we can change this newsletter or add anything to it that will help you learn more about the metals market and learn about other markets that will affect your scrap prices in the future. We look forward to hearing your ideas and until next week, scrap you later.

– Tom

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