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Copper, brass prices drop on poor demand

Keywords: Tags  copper scrap, brass scrap, light copper, No. 2 copper, red brass, yellow brass, radiators, nathan laliberte

NEW YORK — Brass ingot makers’ light copper scrap and No. 2 copper scrap prices have declined over the past week on poor demand.

Light copper scrap fell to a range of $3.12 to $3.16 per pound on Jan. 16 from $3.21 to $3.23 on Jan. 10, and is now trading at a discount of 45 to 49 cents per pound under Comex.

"Demand is not great, but better than nonexistent," one seller said. "We had so much activity for so long, I am starting to wonder if all of the grassroots people got rid of their stockpiles."

No. 2 copper scrap fell to $3.20 to 3.24 per pound Jan. 16 from $3.28 to $3.32, trading at a discount of 37 to 41 cents per pound under Comex.

Large consumers appear to be sitting on the sidelines waiting for better prices before they re-enter the market, according to traders.

"With as tough as things have been, it seems conceivable that consumers are just hanging on to things longer than they used to," a second trader said.

Copper and brass scrap supply remains tight, however.

"It’s been pretty tight for scrap," one buyer said. "Margins are squeezed, people are fighting. It’s been like this for the past couple of months."

The tightness had led to steady increases in prices of brass scrap such as No. 1 composition solids, or red brass, in recent weeks, but declines in copper prices on Comex and a weakening in demand held prices steady Jan. 16.

Red brass prices were unchanged at $2.67 to $2.70 per pound Jan. 16 while red brass turnings continued to trade between $2.63 to $2.66 per pound, radiators were flat at $2.25 to $2.28 and yellow brass solids remained at $2.15 to $2.17 per pound.

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