The weekly spreads for US domestic copper scrap grades widened on Tuesday, while prices surged in tandem with a much stronger Comex market.
The Comex market has jumped by over 16¢/lb since last week and closed at $3.468/lb on Tuesday, its highest since March 2013, up from $3.30/lb on Nov 24.
The spread for US bare bright copper scrap (barley) was wider by 1.4¢/lb at 17.7¢/lb, under the December Comex contract on Tuesday, while the weekly Davis Index for bare bright increased to $3.28/lb delivered US consumer. The spread for bare bright wire widened the least of the US grades, as it is the most likely of the grades to compete within the current uncertainty in the export market due to the Nov 1 reclassification of scrap into China.
The spread for #1 copper (berry/candy) was wider at 28.5¢/lb, worse by 2.2¢/lb under the December Comex contract, with the weekly index for the grade rising to $3.183/lb. The spread for #2 Light copper was wider by 2.5¢/lb at 44¢/lb, under the December Comex contract. The index for #2 Light landed at 3.02/lb.
The physical US copper scrap market has continued to struggle with excess supply and tepid demand with diverging trends widening the gap between the financial copper markets and actual trading. The former sees gains based on better macroeconomic activity and the chance of infrastructure stimulus from the US and China, while the latter still struggles with a lack of demand for scrap in the near-term with expectations of spreads to widen further over the week.