Affects Scrap Metal Pricing in Los Angeles, Other Markets

Scrap metal prices are subject to change and it’s a key reason scrappers in Los Angeles check the daily prices. What may have been a record price for brass last week may be lackluster this week. Just as with other stocks and financial markets around the world, those who sell scrap metal keep a close eye on the price per pound or ton of whatever metals they wish to sell

Fastmarkets, a company and website devoted to the scrap metal market worldwide routinely gauges scrap prices around the globe and according to a recent article, fluctuations in the Asian scrap markets caused some great disparities in metal prices in 2020. One case in point involves Japan, a large exporter of scrap steel and which exported over nine million tons of the materials that go into steel production last year. The amount exported was up over 2019 by more than one fifth, and this despite being in the midst of a pandemic.

However, as Fastmarkets reports, one of Japan’s chief metal importers, South Korea, reduced it’s purchase of Japanese scrap by over 26 percent. This is in contrast to Vietnam which imported almost 3 and one half million tons, becoming Japan’s largest importer in the process.

Japanese scrap metal export ship
Japanese scrap metal export demand was up in 2020.

Prior to January of this year, China has put the stops on imports of scrap which, as one can imagine, would have had a deleterious affect on worldwide demand for scrap metals. With the resumption of imports by the Chinese government the overall market for scrap metal exports has substantially increased.

COVID-19-imposed restrictions and precautions aside, the vagaries of different governments throughout the world play a role in determining scrap metal pricing on a day to day basis. For scrap metal sellers and buyers it becomes an unavoidable routine in checking daily prices and (in the case of scrap metal dealers) making the daily adjustments in what they pay out for any particular metal.

With 2021 now entering its second half it remains to be seen what affect the Chinese reentry into the scrap market will have on overall demand at the year’s end.