Copper prices have been on an upward trend since the downturn of the mid 2000’s. Copper prices, like a lot of raw materials is based on supply and demand. So what drives these prices up. High demand? Low output, actually both.
If we go back as far as the 1960’s – 1980’s, you will find that primarily, the cost of copper was dictated by war. Prices in the 1960’s and early 1970’s keep prices sharp, but into the 1980’s copper prices remained flat until the lat 1980’s when demand increased.
Another determining factor to look at is the way or means of extracting copper. Companies around the world are constantly looking for ways and means to extract copper to bring down their own prices. With so many factors going into the extraction cost including the quality of the copper itself. New innovations such as leaching methods and processes have helped, but not enough.
Prices having been rising recently, demand has been stable to high, especially in overseas markets. The largest boon to prices seems to have been the November elections. With promised economic prosperity and relations changing with European and Asian countries, the price overall since last October have been mounting. The prices leveled off in early spring and have risen sharply in these later months.
As companies continue to search for more ways to extract efficiently, countries continue to expand and build, there seems to be a constant demand for copper.
That all being said, how does that effect scrap copper prices. So the easiest way to explain it is this, yes, demand for copper drives it, but the supply for recycled copper is far different, mainly due to supply and grade. High grade copper (99% purity) is always in high demand and is where you will get the highest price. Second tier copper, would have minimal wear in it and minimal oxidation issues. Lastly is the tier three copper, which is usually lower than 94% clean.
Always separate your scrap metals, if you do not, this could be costly to your bottom line.