Ingot makers’ scrap tags jump as China resumes red metal buys

Dec 17, 2009 | 11:59 AM | Anne Riley

Chinese copper scrap buyers have returned to the U.S. market, putting upward pressure on prices even as many domestic ingot makers continue to sit on the sidelines.

"The Chinese have been more curious about buying metal for future delivery than we've seen in awhile," one North American ingot maker said, noting that some Chinese buyers are offering as much as $2 per pound for yellow brass—a price that no U.S. buyer would even consider in today's slow sales environment.

A second ingot maker confirmed that the Asian nation is again hungry for copper scrap after having refrained from buying for the better part of the last two quarters. The Chinese, who dramatically increased their red metal buys at the start of the year to take advantage of sinking prices, all but exited the market in early September in anticipation of the country's national holiday the following month. Rising customs fees were also said to have been behind the buying slowdown.....

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