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How to better understand scrap metal pricing

  Friday, 11 August 2023

What determines the price of scrap metal? Does one price affect another? How do you know you’re getting a good deal? In this article, we learn more about metal pricing and how this affects the price you might get at a scrap metal recycling yard, such as ASM Metal Recycling.

Construction worker holding a calculator

Quality and types of metals

One of the most important factors that can influence metal pricing is a simple one – the quality of the metal itself. Make sure the metals are clean and sized appropriately. Rusted metal can still be recycled but the more extreme the oxidisation the lower price it will fetch.

Broken items can still be sold as scrap if the core metal is still there. Non-ferrous metals like copper and aluminium are the most valuable types of scrap metal. Ferrous metals are less valuable than non-ferrous because they have a high carbon content, so will corrode quicker.

How prices affect each other

It will often be true that because some metals are composed of similar materials their prices will be related. Copper and brass are two such metals because copper is a significant component of brass. Their prices usually rise and fall together. The market prices of new metals will also have an impact.

For example, if the price of new copper rises, then this will increase the demand for recycled copper, and so that price will soon go up. The opposite is also true – demand will switch from recycled metal to new if the price of the new metal starts to fall.

If you want to know more, we can provide you with up-to-date scrap metal prices and an indication of market conditions, just give us a call.

Location of scrap yard

The prices of the same metals will be affected by the location of the scrap metal yard. A yard in a rural location will usually not be able to offer such competitive prices as a yard in an urban location or one near a port or major transport hub. ASM’s Kings Langley depot near Watford is ideally situated close to the M1 M25 intersection, for example.

The latter will have lower overhead or additional costs to factor in than the rural yard. Other yards in urban areas help to keep prices competitive.

Other factors

The commodity price of metals will often be reflected in the price a scrap yard will offer, but not always. Local market fluctuations have a role to play too. If a certain metal is more in demand locally, or in short supply, the price is likely to rise irrespective of the commodity price.

Other global impacts will affect scrap prices. If oil prices are rising, transport costs will increase, so this is likely to send scrap prices upward. Fluctuating demand in other industries such as construction, electronics and technology will affect the metals markets and commodity prices. We saw this during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The time of year will also affect scrap metal pricing. Holiday periods are likely to see output in certain industries fall.

How do you know if you’re getting a good deal?

Get more than one quotation for your scrap metal. This will help you to know that what you are being offered are fair market prices. Be wary of unlicensed dealers looking for a quick sale.

Sell your scrap metal to ASM

We’re always ready to buy good quality scrap metal at ASM. We use the latest digital scales to accurately weigh your metal and give the best valuation based on up-to-the-minute industry prices.

If you have a large quantity of scrap metal, we offer a collection service. We’ll send a team of expert professionals to pick up and transport the metals to our approved depot, where we use the latest processing technology to dispose of and recycle your materials.

Payment is quick and direct to your bank account. Find out more about selling scrap metal and get a valuation today.

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