In today’s modern world, metal is everywhere. From the steel beams in our skyscrapers to the intricate pieces placed inside electronics, it’s easy to say that the world runs on metal. Because of this, there is an entire industry devoted to finding, selling, purchasing, and recycling scrap metal. Because of the immense cost of harvesting metal out of the Earth, coupled with the relative ease with which it can be recycled, means that most metals are in demand, even if they have been previously used. If you want to get into the scrap metal industry, however, or have scrap metal that you’d like to recycle, there are some important factors you need to know when it comes to metal prices. The cost of various metals regularly fluctuates, sometimes daily, so it’s important to know what impacts metal prices, and what that means for you.
Like all commodities, metal is traded on the stock market. The prices listed here constantly change, due to supply and demand shifting on a regular basis. Factors that can affect metal prices in the market can be mines opening and shutting down, new industries popping up that need a particular metal, and how rare an individual metal is. When it comes to scrap, however, you cannot rely on market prices to determine the amount you will receive. That is because the scrap yard operates separately from the stock exchange.
If you are looking to sell scrap, it’s important that you know the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous means that it has iron, non-ferrous means it is iron free. Copper, Nickel, and Aluminum are perfect examples of non-ferrous metals. Because iron is ubiquitous, metals that contain it are usually cheaper. Additionally, the prices of these metals are generally much more stable. When it comes to non-ferrous metals, such as copper, the price can fluctuate considerably depending on the supply and demand. The scrap yard will look at market price as a base, and then adjust their prices according to their needs.
What can affect metal prices at the scrap yard are the amount of the metal, age and condition it’s in, how much the yard processes on a regular basis, and their proximity to trade and shipping routes. High quality, non-ferrous scrap metal sold to a yard that is close to a port will yield a much higher price than other pieces, so it’s important that you know these distinctions.
When it comes to buying and selling metal, the most important thing to remember is that the price is never the same. Pay attention to the market, and develop relationships with your local scrap yard to maximize your payout. Sometimes a yard needs a particular type of metal or can process it faster, so bringing it to them will increase your profitability. Metal prices shift constantly, so make sure to buy and sell at the right time.