What is Scrap Copper?

A. Leverkuhn

Scrap copper is copper in used forms. Copper is a heavy metal that is a commodity on many markets. Copper is a relatively valuable metal, and it is used in many residential and consumer products. A variety of factors influence scrap metal copper value.

Copper's prevalence in the plumbing industry is partially responsible for its high value.
Copper's prevalence in the plumbing industry is partially responsible for its high value.

The fact that copper is a necessary for plumbing installations allows for part of its value. Copper also has an inherent value as a finite metal, much like precious metals that are also available on commodities exchanges. Much like these other metals, copper is also bought and sold as a commodity, with a spot price, or current value per raw ounce, and futures prices based on contracts for future delivery.

Copper wire.
Copper wire.

Anyone who wants to understand scrap metal and copper prices can look at different pricing from dealers in their home nations. These dealers often tie their prices to the price of raw copper on a national or global exchange. Many scrap copper prices are based on the copper price of the London Metal Exchange, a world-renowned commodity exchange. Others may be based on the COMEX or commodities exchanges in the United States.

Since scrap copper is in different forms that have already been manufactured and put to use, the specific kind of scrap copper that is available for transaction will also have an effect on the price. Buyers and sellers often know about all of the various prices and values for different kinds of scrap copper, including categories like “bare bright,” which is an uninsulated copper wire, or sheet copper, as well as #1 or common conduit and insulated copper wire.

Those who are selling or buying scrap metals like copper should also understand that an illegal market for copper often rivals more established markets. In some nations and regions, the theft of copper is a common occurrence, because of the relatively high value of copper combined with its prosaic uses that often require it to be transported or installed in places without adequate security. Many scrap copper dealers understand how different markets value copper, and how to establish reasonable scrap copper pricing.

Although scrap copper prices are based on larger market values, buyers and sellers still need to understand the “local effect” of trades. A community anywhere in the world has its own standard of living and local economic markers, which will also affect what prices someone can get for various scrap metals. Combining knowledge of the local economy with attention to greater markets will help locals to establish good transactions for copper and other physical commodities.

Small nuggets of pure copper.
Small nuggets of pure copper.

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