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A steady hand.

The invisible hand that guides metals prices has been a fairly steady one lately, making life easier for some traders.

Regarding both copper and aluminum prices, one dealer notes, "We all want them to go up, but it's nice to have some consistency and to be able to offer our customers an idea of what to expect from a buying point of view."

Copper pricing, both on the Comex exchange for primary copper and scrap pricing as measured by American Metal Market, has trended steadily upward for 12 months now, allowing dealers to have some confidence in the market.

If the supply and demand situation is being gauged correctly, the copper market is expected to operate in a supply deficit situation in the near term, according to recent reports from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) and others.

Certainly, scrap dealers see too little in the way of scrap generated on the copper side, with most grades being in short supply.

Aluminum scrap demand is also exceeding supply, not because of record demand, but again because of limited supply. Pricing for aluminum has been steady with an upward trend for the past 12 months.

Overall economic and manufacturing numbers for the U.S. confirm that scrap generation remains in a slump. Many economists believe that before the U.S. economy can truly emerge from its recession, manufacturing production and employment will have to increase markedly.

Scrap dealers with front-line observation posts on the manufacturing economy are not seeing the increases in scrap generation that would point to a rebound. Rather, they are seeing reduced production, curtailed work shifts and idled stamping and machining equipment.
Average U.S. Refiners Buying
Prices for No. 2 Copper Scrap

July 02 60.59 cents
Aug 55.48 cents
Sept 55.68 cents
Oct 56.70 cents
Nov 60.50 cents
Dec 61.33 cents
Jan 03 62.38 cents
Feb 64.11 cents
Mar 64.26 cents
April 61.80 cents
May 65.43 cents
June 67.36 cents
July 68.23 cents

Source: American Metal Market (per pounds, mothly average)

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Title Annotation:chart attached Average U.S. Refiners Buying Prices for No. 2 Copper Scrap; copper and aluminum prices; Nonferrrous
Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:On the rise.
Next Article:Away from home.

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