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Brass scrap steady despite Comex drops

Keywords: Tags  copper scrap, brass scrap, Comex, red brass, brass ingot makers' No 1, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — Brass scrap supply shortages have kept prices relatively unchanged despite a noticeable drop in terminal markets.

Prices for borings and turnings, radiators and yellow brass solids are steady, with market participants noting increased tightness on stronger demand.

"There are plenty of ready buyers out there," one trader said. "There are just not a lot of sellers willing to part with material right now."

Red brass scrap was the only grade to weaken, falling to a range of $2.67 to $2.70 per pound Feb. 20 from $2.69 to $2.72 a week earlier.

Meanwhile, discount spreads for copper scrap stayed relatively steady, sources told AMM.

The range for brass ingot makers’ No. 1 discounts slipped to 19 to 21 cents, down from a 20- to 22-cent discount a week earlier, putting prices at $3.40 to $3.42 per pound. Discounts for all other copper scrap grades were unchanged.

Comex copper for March delivery closed at $3.608 per pound Feb. 20, down 3.6 percent from $3.7425 Feb. 13.

The recent downturn in copper prices has seen sellers exit the market in the hope that Comex prices will rebound, sources told AMM.

"I think we’re hitting a wall," a second trader said. "I have gone to the busiest scrapyards in town, and guys are just standing around. They just don’t have material coming in."

"The boom, supercycle, whatever you want to call it, is over," a third trader said. "Demolitions are down, and there are too many dealers fighting over the same pieces of scrap."

"Things were already slow," a fourth trader said. "Volumes are down, and now the market is going down. However, supply is still tight, so I’m not writing the year off just yet."

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  • Feb 22, 2013

    I have noticed a trend that when prices drop customers tend to hold on to their material for couple of weeks and when they realize the prices are not changing they will sell it to pay their bills, that is what most customers tell me. They have no choice but to feed their family.Everyone hopes for brighter March.

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