Copper Scrap Production Cost

Comprehensive Analysis of Copper Scrap Prices: Trends, Indexes, Historical Charts, and Forecasts by Procurement Resource

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In the first quarter of 2023, copper scrap prices in the US faced challenges from high inflation rates and a market marked by recession-like conditions, impeding their growth. The impact of major US bank failures extended beyond North America, causing a slowdown in production activities in China due to economic sluggishness.


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Additionally, the tight supply of copper negatively influenced copper scrap market sentiments. On a positive note, increased demand emerged from the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors, driven by the global shift toward green energy sources. However, the second quarter saw Chinese manufacturing contraction, declining domestic demand for copper scrap, and reduced consumer consumption, pushing copper scrap prices downward.


Copper scrap refers to recycled copper-containing materials or products that are no longer in use or have reached the end of their useful life. It encompasses various copper-based items, such as wires, pipes, electronics, and industrial components, which are collected and processed for recycling. Properties of copper scrap include its excellent electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and recyclability. These properties make copper scrap a valuable resource for producing new copper products, particularly in electrical and electronic applications, while also contributing to resource conservation and reduced environmental impact through recycling.

Key Details About the Copper Scrap Price Trend:

The copper scrap price trends has been influenced by various market dynamics and expectations for future supply and demand. As of May 2024, copper scrap prices in different regions of China were showing a decrease, with prices such as Bare Bright Copper Wire around 72,400 CNY/mt in Tianjin and Hebei.

Looking at the broader copper market, prices saw a substantial rise in the first quarter of 2024, supported by a tight concentrate supply and reduced production from Chinese smelters. However, despite some gains, the price range was generally maintained between $8,000 to $8,500 per metric ton, peaking at $8,973 in mid-March 2024​.

Market analysts have been bullish on copper, predicting a steady rise in prices into 2024 and 2025, attributed to lower supply and high demand spurred by its critical role in green technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy sectors. Forecasts for 2024 suggest an average price of around $8,800 to $9,000 per ton, with potential increases expected in the second half of the year due to seasonally strong demand​ .

Additionally, a report highlighted the significant role of Chinese demand in driving global copper demand, countering high interest rates that might impede manufacturing activities in Europe and the US. An increase in global refined copper production was also anticipated, which could potentially lead to a supply surplus by 2024 despite the high demand​.

Investors and industry stakeholders continue to monitor these trends closely, as shifts in the copper market can have substantial impacts on related industries and investment decisions.

Industrial Uses Impacting the Copper Scrap Price Trend:

Copper scrap prices are influenced by several industrial uses and factors. Here’s an overview of the key influences:

  1. Construction Industry: Copper is widely used in construction for plumbing, roofing, and electrical wiring due to its durability and electrical conductivity. Increased construction activities usually lead to a higher demand for copper, thereby increasing scrap prices.
  2. Electrical and Electronics Industry: This industry is a significant consumer of copper. Copper’s excellent electrical conductivity makes it essential for manufacturing electrical equipment, electronics, and appliances. As demand for these products grows, especially with advancements in technology and renewable energy sectors, the need for copper rises, impacting scrap prices.
  3. Automotive Industry: The automotive sector uses copper extensively, particularly in electric vehicles (EVs), which require more copper than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. The shift towards EVs and more electronics in vehicles increases the demand for copper, influencing scrap prices.
  4. Renewable Energy: Copper is crucial in renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, and hydroelectric installations, where it is used in the production of generators, inverters, wiring, and turbines. The global push towards renewable energy to combat climate change is a significant driver of copper demand.
  5. Supply Chain and Production Issues: Disruptions in the supply chain, such as mining strikes, natural disasters, or geopolitical issues, can affect the availability of new and scrap copper. Lower availability can drive up scrap prices.
  6. Recycling Rates and Technology: Advances in recycling technologies can increase the recovery rate of copper from scrap, potentially lowering its price if supply outpaces demand. Conversely, inefficient recycling processes can lead to higher prices due to less copper being available.
  7. Global Economic Conditions: The overall economic conditions also play a crucial role. During times of economic growth, industries expand, and copper demand increases, leading to higher scrap prices. Conversely, economic downturns typically see a drop in copper demand and scrap prices.

These factors collectively determine the trends in copper scrap prices, reflecting the broader economic and industrial landscape.

Key Players:

  • LKM Recycling
  • OmniSource
  • Commercial Metals Company
  • SA Recycling LLC
  • Umicore N.V. LLC
  • Pacific Metal Pty Ltd
  • Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc

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Procurement Resource offers in-depth research on product pricing and market insights for more than 500 chemicals, commodities, and utilities updated daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. It is a cost-effective, one-stop solution for all your market research requirements, irrespective of which part of the value chain you represent.

We have a team of highly experienced analysts who perform comprehensive research to deliver our clients the newest and most up-to-date market reports, cost models, price analysis, benchmarking, and category insights, which help in streamlining the procurement process for our clientele. Our team tracks the prices and production costs of a wide variety of goods and commodities, hence providing you with the latest and consistent data.

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