NEW YORK A recent weakening in terminal markets has copper and brass scrap sellers waiting for major international consumers to re-enter the market, sources told AMM.
"We just got past the Chinese New Year (holiday)," one brass scrap seller said. "Once the Chinese start buying again, it could affect spreads. We are basically waiting for them to come back online."
Others said that Chinese consumers were the driving force behind fluctuations in domestic prices on both the terminal and secondary markets.
"If China is in the market, it goes up. If China is out of the market, it goes down," a second brass scrap seller said. "Its that simple."
Comex copper for May delivery closed at $3.567 per pound Feb. 27, down 1.1 percent from $3.608 a week earlier.
Red brass scrap continued to trend with Comex, falling to a range of $2.65 to $2.68 per pound Feb. 27 from $2.67 to $2.70 a week earlier, borings and turnings fell to $2.63 to $2.65 per pound from $2.65 to $2.67, and radiators weakened to $2.26 to $2.29 per pound from $2.27 to $2.30.
Some copper scrap grades also were lower Feb. 27, although market participants noted that despite a 3-cent drop on the Comex, supply concerns kept most discounts unchanged.
The discount for brass mills No. 1 copper scrap narrowed to 6 to 8 cents below Comex compared with a 7- to 9-cent discount a week earlier, putting prices at $3.49 to $3.51 per pound, and refiners copper scrap No. 2 narrowed to a 34- to 36-cent discount from a 35- to 37-cent discount, putting prices at $3.21 to $3.23 per pound.
"The inventories are still down and there is diminished activity in the manufacturing sector," a copper scrap buyer said. "People are becoming increasingly reluctant to part with their material."
All other secondary grades were unchanged.