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US copper scrap discounts decline

Keywords: Tags  copper scrap, brass scrap, comex, No.1 bare bright, Nathan Laliberte


NEW YORK — Discounts for most copper scrap grades narrowed June 26 as market participants said that lower Comex prices coupled with ongoing supply concerns had caused spreads to tighten.

Brass mill No. 1 copper scrap is trading between flat Comex and 2 cents under Comex compared with a discount of 1 to 3 cents previously, putting prices at $3.02 to $3.04 per pound based on a July-delivery Comex copper contract settlement price of $3.041 per pound June 26.

Refiners’ No. 1 copper scrap discounts dipped to 8 to 10 cents per pound below Comex from a 9- to 11-cent discount a week earlier, putting prices at $2.94 to $2.96 per pound, while the No. 2 copper scrap discount fell to 23 to 25 cents below Comex (putting prices at $2.79 to $2.81 per pound) from 24 to 26 cents.

“Things were starting to look like they were picking up and then this drop on Comex happened,” one copper scrap trader said. “Even the plumbers and electricians, who regularly sell to scrapyards, are saying ‘screw it, I’ll just sit on the metal until the market goes higher.’ When the market tanks like this, people really tend to hold onto material.”

“There’s no scrap out there. Even though people are talking about this big boom on the auto side, I am not seeing cars coming in,” a second trader said. “We’re just trying to survive and keep everyone happy at this point.”

Brass ingot makers’ No. 1 bare bright copper scrap discounts dipped to 2 to 4 cents per pound below Comex from a 3- to 5-cent discount a week earlier, putting prices at $3 to $3.02 per pound, while discounts for No. 1 copper scrap decreased to 10 to 12 cents (putting prices at $2.92 to $2.94 per pound) from 12 to 14 cents.

Discounts for brass ingot makers No. 2 copper scrap eased to 20 to 22 cents per pound below Comex from a 25- to 28- cent discount a week earlier, putting prices at $2.82 to $2.84 per pound, and light copper discounts fell to 30 to 32 cents below Comex (putting prices at $2.72 to $2.74 per pound) from 35 to 37 cents.

Meanwhile, prices for some grades of brass scrap decreased June 26, with sources indicating that demand had dipped as mills prepare for summer shutdowns.

“There just isn’t enough volume to support the industry at the moment,” one brass scrap trader said. “The industry has to shrink or the volumes have to get better. You can’t work on zero margins for very long.”

Red brass (No. 1 composition solids) fell to $2.50 to $2.54 per pound from $2.53 to $2.57 previously, composition borings and turnings moved to $2.45 to $2.50 per pound from $2.48 to $2.53 and radiators slipped to $2.11 to $2.15 per pound from $2.13 to $2.17.

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