Scrap aluminum parts in large pile

Why Do Scrap Metal Prices Fluctuate?

Scrap metal can be found in many places. Whether you’re a construction business looking to unload large amounts of steel or a homeowner who needs to get rid of copper pipes, working with local scrap yards is a great way to make some quick cash. But why do today’s scrap metal prices fluctuate? For people in New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York, Sgt. Scrap is your best bet for fair prices without the hassle. Here, we’ll provide some insight into scrap metal sales.

Understanding Basic Scrap Metal Pricing

Scrap metal comes in many forms. While ferrous metals, such as steel, stainless steel, and cast iron, tend to have decent value, non-ferrous metals, including copper, brass, and some alloys, can be rather profitable. Scrap yards buy unwanted metals and allow them to be recycled or repurposed. The result not only gives you money for previously useless items but is also better for the environment than throwing them away or dropping them off at a junkyard.

To get the best price possible for your scrap metal, it should be sorted and cleaned. Sorting metals by type saves time for scrap yards and ensures they don’t miss more valuable pieces in a pile of less valuable ones. Because non-ferrous metals have a noticeably higher market value, use a magnet to separate them quickly and easily from their magnetic, ferrous counterparts. Cleaned scrap metal means material in its purest form – and taking off coatings, grease, and paint can help increase their value.

What Makes Scrap Prices Change?

Like make other industries, metal prices can rise and lower throughout a given year. Several factors can lead to fluctuating local or global prices, including the following:

Supply and Demand

As is the case with any other market, supply and demand have an impact on scrap metal pricing. If there is a large supply or a low demand, you won’t get much in return. Conversely, if the particular metal is scarce or in desperate need, prices may jump up quickly. As time goes by, fewer resources can be extracted from the earth, thus, recycling metal may continue to increase in importance.

International Economies

Local markets can slightly affect pricing, but scrap yards are likely to refer to global markets to help them identify current values. For non-ferrous materials, London Metal Exchange (LME) is often used to dictate the current market. According to the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), ferrous metal prices can fluctuate due to the needs and markets of the largest importers.

Transport Costs

Metal, in all forms, is heavy, and scrap collectors are rarely dealing with small amounts. For scrap metal to reach the proper facilities, it needs to be transported – and higher shipping and transport costs can mean lower payouts for scrap metal. Otherwise, it won’t be worth the dealer’s time and energy. Additionally, you’ll typically get better pricing if you have larger quantities of metal because it will create fewer transactions and make it easier for them to manage transportation.

Seasonal Changes

The time of year may also impact scrap metal prices. When the weather is nicer, more construction projects are underway. This means higher demand for materials.

Sell Us Your Scrap Metal Today

Whether you have a small amount of scrap metal lying around or run a construction site with truckloads of recyclable materials, Sgt. Scrap is the place to go for people in New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York. We can help you understand what scrap metal is worth selling, and we always offer competitive prices. We buy copper, brass, alloy, aluminum, steel, and lead, and our scrap yards even take e-scrap, radiators, and wheels off your hands.

Stop at either of our locations if you want to sell your scrap or schedule a mobile pickup if you have at least 500 pounds of non-ferrous metal and let us come to you. For those with at least 5,000 pounds of scrap, roll-off dumpsters can be delivered to your address and picked up once you’ve filled them. For questions regarding prices or any of our services, contact us today.

Scroll to Top