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Out in the open.

The upward trend in scrap pricing has had its desired effect on nonferrous scrap flow so far in 2004, recyclers report.

Recyclers who last year wondered whether scrap peddlers and scavengers were an endangered species say that the peak pricing of February and Match brought hoarders, speculators and formerly idle scavengers to their scales.

One nonferrous metals dealer says pick-up trucks full of stripped copper wire and table began arriving in late spring, most likely coming from electrical contractors or peddlers serving them who had stored the material throughout the lower pricing of 2002 and 2003. "These may be electricians making 40 bucks per hour, but they still strip this stuff on their own and wait for the markets to go up," he says.

"Nonferrous dealers got used to the slow flow, but the scrap came out with a vengeance over a 90-day period in the spring," the eastern nonferrous dealer adds.

North American wire choppers are receiving more material too, though that may be a function of changes in demand as well as supply.

With many Chinese scrap buyers exiting the North American market in late spring, dealers who had formerly been selling unprocessed wire and cable to overseas brokers reconnected with domestic wire chop line operators.

Toby Shine of Shine Bros. Corp. (see cover story, p. 22) says his wire chopping lines have returned to operating two shifts daily after cutting back to one during the peak Chinese buying period.

He is wary, though, that a return of large-volume Asian buying could again reduce the flow of wire and cable to his Spencer, Iowa, facility. "It could change tomorrow if Chinese buyers came in the way they did a year ago," he remarks.

(Additional news about nonferrous scrap, including breaking news and consuming industry reports, is available online at www.RecyclingToday.com.)
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Title Annotation:Nonferrous; Scrap metals prices
Publication:Recycling Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:304
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