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US copper scrap discounts narrow

Keywords: Tags  copper scrap prices, brass scrap prices, Comex, copper, Nathan Laliberte


NEW YORK — Discounts for some grades of copper scrap narrowed March 13 as sources on both sides of the market continued to express concern about weak scrap inflows.

"I am starting to hear that some scrapyards are running out of money," one scrap trader said. "There are too many players fighting for the same material. There needs to be a shake out."

The discount for brass mills’ No. 1 copper scrap tightened to 6 to 8 cents below Comex compared with a 7- to 9-cent discount a week earlier, putting March 13 prices at about $3.45 to $3.47 per pound based on a March 13 Comex copper price of $3.525 per pound for May delivery. Meanwhile refiners’ copper scrap No. 2 narrowed to a 33- to 35-cent discount from a 34- to 36-cent discount previously, putting March 13 prices at around $3.18 to $3.20 per pound.

"I don’t know if this tightness is a result of hoarding or whether the material is truly unavailable," a second trader said. "Hopefully, as discounts continue to narrow we will see some material enter the market."

Discounts for brass ingot makers’ No. 1 bare bright tightened to 7 to 10 cents, putting prices at about $3.43 to $3.46 per pound March 13, down from an 8- to 11-cent discount previously. Discounts for brass ingot makers No. 1 slimmed to 18 to 20 cents, or $3.33 to $3.35 per pound, vs. a 19- to 21-cent discount previously; and No. 2 discounts fell to 33 to 37 cents, or $3.16 to $3.20 per pound, from a prior discount of 34 to 38 cents.

Meanwhile, brass scrap prices held steady March 13, as sources said supply concerns continued to support prices amid slightly lower demand from end consumers.

"We’re not doing a ton of business right now. We’re actively looking for material, but is has been very tough to acquire. It doesn’t matter what the price is ... if we can’t buy material, we can’t manufacture our product," one brass ingot maker told AMM.

"We have seen the flow of scrap decrease dramatically over the past couple of weeks," a second ingot maker said. "People have been saying that it’s all about weather; I am not so convinced."

The May Comex copper contract inched slightly higher March 14 to $3.5365 per pound.


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