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How is the value of scrap metal determined?

If you’re a metal merchant or tradesman seeking the right price for your scrap metal, you’ll be keen to know when it’s the right time to get top value for your scrap materials.  With the commodities market and stock market fluctuating by the minute, it’s understandable if you’re not quite sure how it all works.

Within this article we’ll discuss the key factors that determine scrap metal prices, helping you to understand the industry that little bit better and appreciate the way in which these factors can influence one another.

The relationship between global and domestic scrap metal markets

It’s important to note that it’s not just the domestic scrap metal market which influences the price of scrap metal.  The international market plays a key role here too.  As the UK is one of the five largest exporters of scrap metal on the planet, it’s unsurprising that the prices charged for scrap metal globally will influence the value of scrap metal in your local scrap yard.

As scrap metal dealers, we therefore scour the markets and monitor up-to-date rates, which in turn allow us to keep up with the latest trends and offer you the best value price for your metals.

Supply and demand

As with so many commodities and goods, the concept of supply and demand weighs heavily on the value of scrap metal too.  Interestingly, the pace of the UK construction industry can play a part.  When the industry is slow, the demand for scrap metals will decline, affecting the value of the materials.  At the other end of the spectrum, when things pick up, scrap becomes a more precious commodity.

Location, location, location

The location of a scrap yard can also play a part in the prices of scrap metal offered.  Those yards in close proximity to ports and larger cities capable of transporting scrap metals overseas will have fewer overheads than a more rural, inland yard.  But by the same token, if a scrap yard is situated in a rural area where scrap metal is harder to come by, the yard may be more willing to pay a premium to take it off your hands.

Material quantities

If you are looking to sell your scrap metal, it’s likely that you will have greater leverage in terms of value if you have larger quantities available.  Generally, scrap dealers will be keener to buy your scrap if they can acquire it in bulk themselves, reducing the overall cost per kilogram.  If you are willing to hold on to your scrap metal until you have a bulk amount you may get a better price.

Ferrous vs non-ferrous metals

The most valuable scrap metals for recycling are non-ferrous.  Common non-ferrous metals include aluminium, copper, brass and lead.  The easiest way to determine if your scrap metal is non-ferrous or ferrous is to test if the metal sticks to a magnet.  If it does, it is a ferrous metal.  Ferrous metals tend to be less sought-after by metal recyclers but they will still recoup some value if you have large enough quantities of it.

Did you know?

At ASM Metal Recycling, three of our recycling sites purchase a comprehensive range of ferrous metals, including scrap cars.  You can sell ferrous light iron, heavy scrap and cast iron at our sites at Aylesbury, Kings Langley and Totternhoe.  Meanwhile, our Westpoint recycling unit also purchases non-ferrous metals, including all the non-ferrous materials discussed in the paragraph above.

For significant quantities of scrap metals, we also offer a collection service.  We’ll send a team of expert professionals to pick up and transport the metals to our approved site, where we use only the latest processing technology to dispose of and recycle your materials.  All you have to worry about is receiving payment for your scrap!