US export copper scrap spreads widened further by around a penny over the past week as the Comex market hovered close to its peak for 2020.
The next active Comex contract closed on Wednesday at $2.925/lb, up 6¢/lb from $2.885/lb on July 15. The Comex market peaked in early January at $2.87/lb, until besting that mark on July 13 at $2.96/lb. However, demand for copper scrap remains low, leaving more pricing control in the hands of the consumers for grades with better supply availability.
The weekly Davis Index for #1 copper wire and tube increased by 4¢/lb to $2.75/lb fas US port, while the index for #2 copper jumped by 3¢/lb to $2.62/lb fas on Wednesday. The index for bare bright (barley) increased by 4¢/lb to $2.82/lb fas US port.
The Davis Index spread for #1 copper wire, and tube (berry/candy) was slightly wider at 17.6¢/lb fas US ports under the next active Comex contract, while the spread for #2 copper (birch/cliff) widened by 1.3¢/lb to 30.6¢/lb fas US port, under the next active month on Comex. The spread for bare bright (barley) was worse by 0.7¢/lb at 10.3¢/lb fas under the next active Comex contract.
The spreads have widened slightly as the Comex market has increased steadily over the month. Spreads could widen further as bids to suppliers continue to be weaker than those indexed on Wednesday because of spotty demand from Asia.
Market participants are curious about the next round of import quotas from China, as those could indicate what is to come if the copper scrap volumes permitted for imports are smaller in the next batch compared with the 170,000mt allowed in the previous one.