After years of seesawing between mills and yards, dealmaking leverage now appears to weigh in favor of large scrap processors . . .and they know it

Aug 01, 2010 | 04:58 AM | Michael Marley

One of the odd parallels of the scrap market is that the flow of obsolete ferrous scrap can be a lot like the life cycle of a vehicle's lead-acid battery.

The dead-battery/dead-scrap-market analogy was apparent in late June and early July, when much of the nation was sweltering through 90-degree-plus temperatures and humidity percentages that matched the mercury's numbers. The analogy has an ironic twist since most scrapyards no longer handle dead car batteries after being stuck with millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

Anyone who has owned an older vehicle for several years probably has learned the lesson about batteries. A car's battery has a typical life-span of five to seven years, but it can die young in the heat of summer just as easily as it will on a cold winter's morning.

Most scrap peddlers and small dealers are not mad dogs or Englishmen. In other words, they know how unwise it can be to be out in the noonday sun in such heat and humidity. By the same token, they also know it is foolish to go out in mid-February when there is a foot of snow on the ground to scout around for old pipe and other junk.....

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