NEW YORK Discounts for
copper scrap were largely unchanged March 27, as solid demand
continued to be overshadowed by a worsening supply outlook.
"Everyone I talk to across the
country says flow is really low," one scrap trader said. "There
seems to be a lot of uncertainty about when a steady supply of
material will return."
Others said that the European
economic crisis had caused declines on Comex and supply
shortages in secondary markets. "I dont care what the
U.S. stock market is doing; there are serious global issues
that need to be resolved," a second trader said.
Brass ingot makers No. 1
copper scrap was the only grade to register a change in its
discount, falling to 15 to 17 cents per pound below Comex from
17 to 19 cents previously. That put prices at about $3.27 to
$3.29 per pound based on a March 27 Comex copper price of
$3.4435 per pound for May delivery.
"Volume is down, which is why
spreads are coming in," a third trader said. "Between a slow
market and lack of flow, youve got a pretty tough
environment to do business." Supply concerns would "likely be a
major topic of discussion at the upcoming ISRI (Institute of
Scrap Recycling Industries) convention."
Meanwhile, most brass scrap
prices strengthened March 27, with market participants noting
that consumers were adopting aggressive pricing strategies in
order to acquire adequate amounts of material.
"Mill demand is pretty good, and
melt shops seem to be hungry to buy what little we have to
offer," a brass scrap trader told AMM. "Prices are
good because nobody has any metal to sell."
Prices for red brass scrap rose
to $2.67 to $2.70 per pound March 27 from $2.65 to $2.68 a week
earlier, borings and turnings increased to $2.65 to $2.67 per
pound from $2.63 to $2.65 and radiators inched up to $2.27 to
$2.30 per pound from $2.26 to $2.29.
"Sure, prices are picking up,
but volumes are down 25 percent because of (the) supply
shortage," a second brass scrap trader said. "We are fighting
to keep volumes up so we can keep operations running."
All other secondary grade prices were unchanged.