The weekly spreads for US domestic copper scrap diverged and prices slid on Tuesday in an oversupplied scrap market as the Comex came off its peak for the year.
The Comex spot market closed at $3.09/lb on Tuesday, down from $3.14/lb on Oct 20. Comex prices peaked at $3.20/lb on Oct 21 before starting a gradual decline to the current levels.
The spread for US bare bright copper scrap (barley) was flat at 16¢/lb, under the October Comex contract on Tuesday, while the weekly Davis Index for bare bright decreased by 3¢/lb to $2.93/lb delivered US consumer.
The spread for #1 copper (berry/candy) widened by 0.1¢/lb to 27.8¢/lb, under the October Comex contract, with the weekly index for the grade dropping by a penny to $2.80/lb delivered.
The spread for #2 Light copper narrowed by half a penny to 45¢/lb under the October Comex contract, while the index for the grade decreased by 2.6¢/lb to $2.63/lb.
The market is quiet for now, with all eyes on China’s return to the scrap market and shipping companies like Maersk resuming operations to Chinese ports.
Suppliers are still nervous about the new reclassification of scrap and its application moving forward, with some sending out test loads, to get a sense of the new system. However, any real impact of China’s re-entry into the market is likely to be felt only by the beginning of 2021 when more significant tonnages would ship depending on the test loads’ outcome.