All experienced scrappers know that scrap metals can sometimes fluctuate wildly, making the industry one of the most difficult to understand. One of the main factors that scrap yards use to determine the price of scrap metal is the current trading price of the metals in the market.
First…What Goes Into Changing Scrap Prices
The metal’s market price is not the only factor, and scrap yards can use many other factors to determine the price. Here are some factors that determine the price for your scrap metals:
Changes in the Market
Every market has its ups and downs. Check on indices like the metal exchange and the COMEX to understand the changes. Keep an eye on indices to have a rough idea of the worth of your metal. The world markets and international relations conditions greatly influence the local metal prices. Is there unrest in Europe? Or strike in West Africa or other mining countries could cause fluctuation in the market pricing and could easily cause scrap metal price change.
Some areas have higher competition than others—for instance, a place with a higher number of quality yards. Once you carry your stuff to such a place, the presence of many good scrap yards would mean fair pricing of your commodities. A monopoly dealer or market would not help you fetch a higher profit. All they do will offer you lower prices and take advantage of your inability to negotiate with different dealers.
The Condition of Your scrap
Typically, clean and corrosion-free scrap metals stand a better chance of fetching higher prices at the yard. Ensure that your scrap metal is pure or choose the best before going to the yard. Using the videos and tutorials at iScrap, you can learn how to sort and sell better.
Supply and Demand
Like common goods, the supply and demand of metals flow with the same principles. Increased supply and increased demand will affect the prices of scrap metals. Therefore, when the store is high, prices will drop and rill fetch low prices. You might have to hold your scrap and wait for the next market at times. The changing scrap prices could reflect the changes in supply and demand.
Season of the Year
While this comes as a surprise, it’s one factor that affects scrap yard prices. When the weather is favorable, the demand for recycled metals shoots is mainly fueled by the construction and automobile industries. The two sectors are typically busy when the weather is warm and hot than cold. Because the demand for recycling scrap metals is higher during summer, you could quickly get better prices for your scrap metal.
Stockpile Levels in International Markets
International markets play a significant role in determining the prices of scrap metals. For instance, China and India lead in purchasing scrap metal globally. Sometimes, the stockpiles are not utilized. For example, after the 2008 recession, several countries and provinces experienced low scrap prices because much of the already collected scrap were never used. If the buying countries and regions have excess stockpiles, they can stop buying from suppliers, causing a drop in the prices. On the other hand, a season of fewer scrap metals in the stock would mean more purchases from suppliers leading to a higher price.
On different occasions, the scrap metal industry would pose additional requirements. States that buy bulky scrap metals may alter how they purchase or grade some metals. Such occurrences cause a flip in the market and affect scrap prices. Due to political unrest, countries like Turkey and other regions may face challenges when buying other metals.
The scrap metal industry greatly depends on the gas and oil sectors. Recycled materials and commodities are transported over long distances to different destinations. When the fuel prices go up, yards figure out a way of compensating for the same. Additionally, metal recycling depends on fuel to a large extend, and any changes in power will cause changes in pricing scrap metals.
Similarly, melting the scrap metal requires natural gas, coal, or electricity, and therefore if their cost goes up, it will affect the scrap metal pricing. Gas prices have a direct effect on the transportation costs of metals. The opposite is also true. The prices of scrap metals will most likely go down when the fuel prices drop.
Location is another factor that influences the pricing of scrap metal. Some states do not export scrap metal but major in refining them via smelting. Such methods attract a different pricing structure.
The Price for New Metals
Change of prices for the new metals in the market means a change in price for the scrap metals. How? When the cost of new copper shoots up, companies and industries turn to recycled copper to save money. In turn, it will cause an increase in the price of scrap copper. The opposite is also true. When there’s a drop in price for the new copper, the price for the recycled copper will also drop. If you are looking to sell your bulk scrap metal, it’s advisable first to observe the new metal trend and then make a decision.
What Can You Do with Changes in Scrap Prices?
Scrap metal prices change frequently, and therefore, it’s essential to choose the most appropriate moment to do the selling for recycling. On the other hand, it may prove indefinite for price increases and decreases. Mainly, certain metals increase in value while others devalue. The best way to handle the situation is by weighing the given factors, deciding where and when to sell. Do you need some quick cash? You may choose to move on with the process rather than wait for the market fluctuations.
Reasons Why Some Scrap Yards Don’t Change Prices
Many scrap yards change their pricing with the market trends in most cases. Some will not change their prices immediately after the markets shift, and there are reasons why they do this.
For instance, scrap yards located on the West Coast and East Coast will change their prices as soon as the markets change because they are located in competitive areas. On the other hand, scrap yards located in the Midwest do not have high competition and typically would not change their prices as soon as the markets change.
Location of the Company
The location of the scrap yard will determine if they will change their prices immediately or not. If it is located in a region with less competition, they are unlikely to change the prices of scrap metal immediately after the markets change. However, in areas where it is highly competitive areas, their response would be immediately following the signal changes in the market.
Proximity to Waterways
If the scrap yard is near waterways that can be used to ship the scrap metals, these facilities offer a company an upper hand to the accessible access market. Waterways provide transportation of goods to different countries that fetch higher prices. Some scrap yards and firms live on shores and near major rivers, and therefore, they are facilitated to make easy transportation. Scrap yards with such access also will respond immediately to the changes in the market.
In contrast, a scrap yard company that does not have access to such a facility will not change the scrap yard prices immediately as the market prices change.
Easy Access to Mills and Other Smelting Facilities
Scrap yards near large smelting and recycling plants are also more likely to respond immediately by changing the prices of the scrap metals as the markets change. On the other hand, scrap yards located in regions far away from such plants will not respond immediately to the market forces.
Future Outlook of Scrap Metal Market
The scrap metal market will continue to grow, partly driven by rising prices and constrained supply. The prices will remain volatile, and most market participants will remain cautiously optimistic.
Additionally, the rising societal concerns about environmental protection, sustainable development, and climate change. These will reinforce scraps and recycled products that will conserve natural resources and reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. According to estimates, the global recycled scrap metal will be valued at $58.3 billion in 202.
The increase in demand for recycled scrap metal will be in different industries such as shipbuilding, automotive, and infrastructure is anticipated to drive the rise in sales. The use of recycled scrap metal in producing industrial tools, machinery, and equipment will drive growth in the market. It is predicted that the demand for scrap metal will exceed $98.5 billion by the end of 2031.
The significance of scrap metal has continued to grow over the years. Numerous factors will determine the price of scrap metals. These factors include supply and demand, competition, the condition of the scrap metal, the season of the year, and changes in the market, among many other factors. Typically, scrap metal yards adjust prices following changes in the market price. However, other yards would not change prices immediately following the changes in the market. These companies are mainly in less competitive areas.
Other Valuable Resources
- How To Handle Taxes from Scrap Metal Profits
- Difference Between Carbide & High-Speed Steel
- How Often Do Scrap Prices Change?