US export copper scrap spreads widened or tightened depending on grade amid a volatile Comex copper market, which closed closer to its highest point since February 2013 on Wednesday.
The next active Comex contract closed on Wednesday at $3.64/lb up from $3.62/lb on Jan 13. The market had reached the $3.70/lb mark, its highest point in eight years, on Jan 7.
The weekly Davis Index for #1 copper wire and tube fell by 0.2¢/lb to $3.36/lb fas US port. On the other hand, the #2 copper index stepped up by 0.7¢/lb to $3.191/lb fas on Wednesday. The bare bright (barley) index dropped slightly by 0.1¢/lb to $3.46/lb fas US port.
The Davis Index spread for #1 copper wire, and tube (berry/candy) widened by 3¢/lb to 27¢/lb fas US ports under the next active Comex contract but strengthened for #2 copper (birch/cliff) by 3.6¢/lb to 45.5¢/lb fas under the same contract. The spread for bare bright (barley) was weaker at 15.8¢/lb fas under the next active Comex contract, wider by 0.8¢/lb.
Activity in the copper export markets has increased on reports of improvement in the non-ferrous metals sorting timelines in China. Suppliers anticipate further clarity and an increased speed in importing scrap in the Asian nation, which remains the largest copper scrap consumer globally. Thus, they are rushing to fill their volumes to be able to promptly provide the tonnages to China once imports begin again. Some market participants, however, caution that the news about the COVID-19 pandemic’s resurgence in China could stall plans.