Soaring copper prices don't reflect conditions in ingot mart

Oct 26, 2009 | 11:43 AM | Anne Riley

Copper futures hit a fresh 13-month high Monday as prices continued their wild ride, but underlying demand has little to do with ballooning prices, scrap market participants said.

December-delivery copper touted highs of $3.069 per pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange before pulling back on a strengthened dollar to settle at $3.011 per pound. On the London Metal Exchange, three-month metal closed second-ring trade at $6,696 per tonne after grazing a 13-month high of $6,728 in Monday trade.

"It used to take six, seven months for this kind of action; now it happens in 10 minutes," one brass and bronze ingot maker said of Monday's pricing roller coaster.

"I wouldn't get in front of any of these metal markets," according to Hy Shore, director of purchasing at Toronto-based Ingot Metal Co. Ltd. "They are going through the roof. You can see the momentum is straight up."

The primary metal gains have pushed scrap tags higher during the past week, sources said. No. 1 copper rose 17 cents in the East to $2.80 per pound and increased 16 cents in the Midwest to $2.75 per pound since Oct. 14, when Comex copper settled at $2.8445 per pound. No. 2 copper also soared at the hands of bolstered cathode prices, climbing 21 cents in the East to $2.58 per pound and 18 cents in the Midwest to $2.53 per pound.....

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