Scrap Price News: Steady Copper & Slow-Moving Steel



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Last Week’s Poll:

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Report Date: 08/17/22

Markets did not have much movement in the last seven days as we did not see many things happening. Copper prices were relatively flat, with no more than two pennies up or down overall which is a good sign for stability.

Is The Nickel Market About To Be Low?

We’ve seen the nickel market starting to have news stories that they may be in short supply of nickel going into the fourth quarter of this year. That could affect the stainless prices, which of course, I’ve been brutalized throughout the last five months.

Slow Recovery for Steel

Steel prices have continued their slow recovery, jumping about $30 per ton during August in many parts of the country. Some parts of the country have not seen rapid growth in that generally tends to be in areas that cost more money to move steel because it’s in the middle of the country or in farther out areas. Suggested Reading: What Location Has To Do With Scrap Prices

PGM Prices Have Been Up

Catalytic converter prices are the last six weeks are up about 9% overall. While we have seen a slight drop in the markets over the previous few days, we still see the average prices above $165 per cat, and if you’re looking to get fair prices with free shipping, you can always get the price quotes through

What Scrappers Are Up To

As we continue to read many of the comments from Scrappers on YouTube, we wanted to go over some different perspectives.

Don’t Share Too Much We see a lot of scrappers sharing their big scores – AMAZING! But if you are sharing, make sure you’re not sharing with too many people or too many specific things. You never want to be able to give away spots that you score on. Many of these “scrap contracts” are not signed contracts but just verbal agreements. So you never want to jeopardize any business that feeds your hustle. If one-time jobs are “one-time jobs,” you can share those things a little more often. Suggested Reading: 5 Places To Store Scrap Securely & DIY Storage Options

Keep The Communication Going – Constant communication is another excellent tip regarding scrapping, whether full-time or part-time. We’re not saying you have to stop by to see customers weekly, but an occasional text message or a quick call to see how they are doing can go a long way. Suggested Reading: Tips For More Long-Term Scrap Customers

We have found that running scrap yards is the same concept, with more customers and lines of communication. Some scrap yards may do weekly or monthly newsletters, but if you’re not at that level, doing smaller reach out even through text messages can help.

Energy Column – Oil & Gas Prices

Well, we’ve done it! The national average for regular gasoline has dropped below $4 for the first time, while the national average for diesel hovers right at the $5 mark, down over 50¢ from last month. However, a key metric the market keeps an eye on is the spread or differential between gasoline and diesel prices. The spread is still a little over a dollar per gallon, which from a historical basis, is a record. Here are diesel and gas prices since 2002:

Why Is Diesel Always More Expensive Than Gasoline?

There are a few reasons why gas and diesel prices will never sync up, and as you can tell by the chart, diesel is almost always more expensive. One of the primary reasons is the EPA’s mandated switch for all diesel sold in the US to be ULSD (ultra-low sulfur diesel) — a standard of diesel that limits sulfur contents to 15 parts per million. But lowering the sulfur content of diesel has led to lower energy density (less fuel economy per gallon) and raised production costs at the refinery, placing upward pressure on prices.

From a tax perspective, diesel taxes are about 7.5¢ higher per gallon than gasoline due to diesel engines typically being in trucks and other large vehicles that deteriorate roads and infrastructure more quickly than light-duty vehicles. Lastly, and probably most importantly, diesel is produced at a reduced rate compared to gasoline. In the US, for every barrel of crude oil refined, about 19 to 20 gallons of gasoline are produced. That figure drops to just 11 to 12 gallons for diesel.

2022 Hurricane Season Is Here

In other news, hurricane season has technically begun, but we haven’t noticed much activity thus far. However, it is worth briefly looking at NOAA’s prediction for the season:

Time will tell if this prediction comes to fruition. Even if it does, that does not necessarily mean it will significantly drive gas and diesel prices higher. It all depends on WHERE such storms hit and how well refineries are prepared to stay operational or, at the very least, limit downtime. 

How Copper Relates To The New Climate Bill

Onto the world of copper recycling. As mentioned last week, the aggressive climate bill that will be signed by President Biden this week calls for significantly more renewable energy buildouts, electrification, electric grid modernization, and an expedited timeline for electric vehicles to source parts from other places beyond China; domestic sourcing would be the ideal scenario. However, with all we mentioned last week, we thought it would be good to break down this EV growth problem from a recycled metals perspective.

While a recycling and reuse industry for EV batteries will be needed, it won’t come close to supplying the necessary metals. If the number of EVs on the road today remained static for the next 20 years, recycling the metals in them might be able to make up the bulk of the demand. But EV sales are growing exponentially. There were 3 million electric cars sold globally in 2020, according to the IEA. That more than doubled in 2021 to 6.6 million. By 2030, S&P Global forecasts there will be nearly 27 million sold annually.

What about the batteries? If a battery were to last ten years (some can as long as 20 years), even if every one of the 3 million batteries and motors sold in EVs in 2020 were to be recycled, that would provide only 11% of the metals needed in 2030 for 27 million electric cars. The IEA estimates that recycling could meet only about 10% of the demand for battery materials in 2040. That is a far cry from what many other sources present regarding metals recycling capabilities related to electric vehicles. The biggest question in markets that supply these EV battery materials is where this new supply will come from and what will happen to prices as EVs continue their exponential growth. 

Ford Is Making Less-Performing Batteries?

We’ll leave on this. An interesting move by Ford Motor a few weeks ago where they announced it would switch to lower-performance batteries for some of its EV vehicles. This had been decided to meet production goals while addressing nickel supply issues. For some standard EV models, Ford is planning to use lithium-iron-sulfate batteries, which don’t require nickel or cobalt. Could shortages of these crucial metals create operational problems for car manufacturers down the road? We certainly don’t like the sound of “lower performance batteries,” especially as people are only beginning to come to the EV concept.

Non-Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • Copper – SELL

  • Aluminum – HOLD

  • Brass –SELL

  • Copper Wire – SELL

  • Stainless Steel – HOLD


Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices

Get Access to Charts – DOWNLOAD TODAY


Ferrous Prices & Market Status

  • #1 Steel – SELL

  • Shreddable Steel – SELL

  • Light Iron – SELL

  • Cast Iron – HOLD

  • Complete Car –SELL


Ferrous Scrap Prices

Get Access to Charts – DOWNLOAD TODAY

Boosted Catalytic Converter Prices at RRCatsBoosted Catalytic Converter Prices at RRCats

Catalytic Converter Prices & Market Status

  • Catalytic Converters –SELL


Other Metal Markets:

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Other Valuable Resources 

  • LAST WEEK’S REPORT: New Energy Bill Signed This Week
  • 9 Signs of a Sketchy Scrap Yard
  • Full-Time Scrapping: Is It An Option For You?

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