The recycling market traveled a bumpy road in May, with ferrous scrap prices continuing to lose ground while nonferrous displayed strength.
Ferrous scrap tags fell approximately $20 per gross ton across all major grades and regions in May. This marks the second straight month of price erosion. Most industry experts are expecting further decreases in June, a traditionally weak month for scrap. If those decreases come to fruition it will mark the first time since April 2012 that ferrous tags have slipped three consecutive months. The market weakness is largely tied to the lack of foreign demand, though gathering momentum in the housing and transportation industries may help alleviate some of this concern going forward.
Nonferrous scrap enjoyed a more positive month. Copper scrap prime grades jumped approximately $0.15 per pound from mid-April to the middle of this month. Tepid demand is still a concern, however, but the scarcity of material continues to buttress the market.
Aluminum scrap is also struggling on the demand side, but supply continues to remain low. Aluminum prices held stead from April’s levels.
The recovered paper market witnessed pricing decreases in May. OCC (old corrugated containers) dropped $5 per ton in the Southeast and Northeast while falling $10 in the Midwest and on the West Coast. SOP (sorted office paper) decreased $10 in the Southeast and Midwest and dropped $5 in the Northeast.
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