Will China Reopening Help Prices? – 5/25/22


🎉 Happy Birthday to Tom, the Founder of iScrap App! 🎉 – Leaving him a comment on YouTube!


It looks like the prices may be rising again. After seeing the Chinese essentially shut down hundreds of millions of people from working and have their economic output decrease significantly, we finally start to see them return to work. We read over the last week about how the Chinese took so many people out of the markets working, and that tagnated the metals markets.

Now that we see people returning, we started to see an increase in copper prices but there is still so much pent-up supply that we may not see a large price increase until the end of the summer. 

On top of that, the government is already warning us that gas and diesel prices will continue to increase and that we should embrace significant price increases. This will certainly not help the steel side of the scrap market as we do not expect to see these prices recovering during the summer unless there’s some weird trip up in the supply curve. 

Non-Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • Copper – SELL

  • Aluminum – SELL

  • Brass – SELL

  • Copper Wire – SELL

  • Stainless Steel – SELL

We are about $0.24 above where the market’s low point was for copper over the last few weeks. We saw a nice clawback at the end of last week even as the stock market decreased. With the increase in copper prices, we did see many reported prices starting to come in higher than they were the week prior, but the shutdown in China will still lead to a more extended pricing hangover. Then, we will be a custom to where would want. 
With copper prices remaining in a stretch that has only been seen one other time in comparison and that would be back in 2006, we have seen such a strengthening of the market overall. As we’ve already mentioned, a lot of this will hinge on Chinese consumption of red metal and how the output goes in countries such as Brazil, which are talking about having significant strikes. Large strikes in copper mining operations generally lead to quick optics and prices but we have not seen anything materialize yet. 

Non-Ferrous Price Chart of the Week – Copper


Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • #1 Steel – HOLD 

  • Shreddable Steel –SELL

  • Light Iron – SELL

  • Cast Iron – HOLD

  • Complete Car – HOLD 

With diesel and gas prices continuing to hit record highs day after day, we have not seen the government looking to make any change to help alleviate the pressure. Those different pressure points will have a whole very high impact on Largely moving industries like Scrap and the overall recycling industries. These much higher fuel costs will lead to every truck that runs on the road having another three to $500 in overhead per day. That additional overhead means that the price of steel will be down to cover many of the more significant fuel costs like a barge going across the ocean and because of many of the demands that are going down because of it. 

Ferrous Price Chart of the Week

Catalytic Converter Prices & Market Status

  • Catalytic Converters – SELL

While we have seen minor movements on the platinum and rhodium fronts, overall, we have seen a relatively steady market, which has led to reasonable prices over the last few weeks being stabilized.

Other Metal Markets

Aluminum and stainless steel have been two of the hardest-hit metals over the last month regarding trading and talking pricing. Over the last few weeks, we have seen price decreases on the aluminum and stainless side anywhere from 15 to 28%. These significant price decreases have caught everyone by surprise; significantly larger scrap manufacturing facilities that have so much supply on hand from purchasing over the first three or four months are looking at large losses when it comes to selling some of these products. 
Well, many are hoping that the nickel market sees a resurgence due to the electric vehicle battery demands, that may be something that you see over the macro picture instead of the micro picture which we are in today.
The markets continue to remain strong even with little blips that we have seen, many may look at the stock markets as the indicator, but it looks like on the supply side and the labor side, things are still influential. Strength in the labor markets means that a recession may be looming, but it may not be nearly as bad as we traditionally think them to be. Higher prices and inflation which are cheap in dollars that are already in our pockets are a much more significant concern. 
We hope that you enjoy memorial day weekend and take a minute to think of a veteran or their family the time that has been served the United States through their service and dedication over the years.

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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