NEW YORK Ingot
makers red brass scrap prices continue to drop as demand
for the metal dries up, market participants said.
"This is the biggest
revenue change in my buying career," a copper scrap buyer
said. "Ingot makers always wanted (red brass), but
today theyre not going to buy it."
Red brass scrap is now
in a range of $2.45 to $2.49 per pound, down from $2.46 to
$2.50 previously, consumers, traders and sellers told
"A lot of people had
backed away from (red brass)," a scrap seller said, adding that
he believes some interest may come back from overseas. Sources
said that demand had softened in part due to weak export
markets and regulations that limit the amount of lead in
Since a lot of red
brass scrap has too much lead in it, businesses have adapted by
providing replacement material, the first scrap buyer said,
noting that replacing leaded red brass is now 20 to 25 percent
of his business.
Generally, the scrap
market is "slower rather than steady," sources said.
"The end markets are
very soft, and the export market is exceedingly soft," a second
copper scrap consumer said. According to U.S. International
Trade Commission data, copper scrap and waste exports to China
and India, two major developing economies, have declined 8.6
percent and 21.6 percent, respectively.
The softening in
Chinas market has affected refiners copper scrap as
well. "China has not been as aggressive, therefore No. 2
spreads have widened," a scrap seller said in an e-mail.
No. 1 discounts have increased to 8 to 10 cents per pound from
6 to 8 cents previously, putting the price at $3.17 per pound
based on the December Comex copper contract, which settled at
$3.257 per pound Sept. 11. Refiners scrap No. 2 discounts
widened to 25 to 28 cents per pound from 22 to 24 cents
previously, putting the price at $2.995 per pound.