The weekly spreads for US domestic copper scrap grades continued to widen by just under a penny for most grades against weak demand. Concerns over China’s new import waste restrictions and the lack of clarity under the new regulations set to begin September 1 have also disrupted supply chains and left buyers and sellers re-evaluating relationships in the marketplace.
The Comex spot market closed at $2.90/lb on Tuesday, down from $2.941lb on July 21. The Comex market has remained in a tight 7¢/lb range since July 10, after reaching a peak at $2.96/lb in June.
The spread for US bare bright copper scrap (barley) delivered US consumer, weakened by 0.4¢/lb to 9.9¢/lb, under the July Comex contract on Tuesday, while the weekly Davis Index for bare bright decreased by 4.5¢/lb to $2.801/lb delivered US consumer.
The spread for #1 copper (berry/candy) widened by 0.8¢/lb to 16.3¢/lb, under the July Comex contract, with the weekly index for the grade declining by 4.9¢/lb to $2.737/lb delivered.
The spread for #2 copper chops was worse by 0.8¢/lb at 28.2¢/lb under the July Comex contract. The index for #2 chops decreased by 4.9¢/lb to $2.618/lb delivered.
The export market for copper scrap has decreased significantly as many large shipping companies have decided to end shipments into Chinese ports on fears of having equipment tied up because of a lack of understanding revolving around the new waste restrictions. With less competition for copper scrap globally, US pricing is expected to weaken over the coming weeks.