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Supply crimp supports copper scrap pricing

Keywords: Tags  copper scrap, scrap prices, Comex copper, No. 1 copper scrap, No. 2 copper scrap, brass scrap, bare bright, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Tight supply helped copper scrap prices hold steady Feb. 6 as feedstock concerns outweighed lackluster spot demand.

"Red metal seems to be holding strong because of diminished inventories," one trader told AMM.

Discounts on brass ingot makers’ No. 1 copper scrap narrowed to 20 to 22 cents below Comex, to a price range of $3.52 to $3.54 per pound, vs. a 21- to 23-cent discount on Jan. 30, also $3.52 to $3.54 per pound. Discounts on No. 2 copper scrap also tightened to a range of 36 to 40 cents (or $3.34 to $3.38 per pound) from 37 to 41 cents (or $3.34 to $3.38 per pound) in the same comparison.

Comex copper for March delivery settled at $3.7405 per pound Feb. 6, down about a penny from $3.75 per pound on Jan. 30.

"Material flow is pretty quiet right now," a second trader said.

Several market participants noted that supply of No. 1 bare bright copper scrap is particularly tight.

"The high grades are tough to get," a third trader told AMM. "Of all the items, bare bright is probably the least prevalent. We’re not doing a lot of it, but even for a few loads it’s not that easy to get," he said.

Supply concerns kept brass ingot makers No. 1 bare bright discounts at 9 to 12 cents per pound, with only one consumer reporting purchases at 12 cents below Comex.

"Putting your hands on a good load of bare bright is becoming more and more challenging," the second trader said.

"In January, I had nothing to sell," the first trader said.

Meanwhile, brass scrap prices mostly remained flat, with only composition solids, borings and turnings (red brass turnings)moving down a penny to $2.64 to $2.66 per pound from $2.65 to $2.67 on Jan. 30.

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