Tom goes through the 2022 Recap for copper, brass, and insulated wire. Read more below for the full recap and 2023 outlook.
What you'll find in all of our different recaps of 2022 is that April was the best month to sell materials. That being said, we still saw solid averages in 2022 for materials like yellow brass, insulated copper wire, and other grades of copper scrap.
Throughout the year, stripped copper wire averaged $3.65 per pound. These numbers peaked in April when some prices were above $4.00. Overall, compared to years in the past, we saw a solid market throughout 2022. After we saw many of the same patterns of higher oil and fuel prices, we started to see the pullback on many copper prices in June 2022. While there still is a demand for many of these materials, one of the biggest fears is a worldwide recession which could be happening as you read this and potentially going into more of an effect in 2023.
#2 Copper averaged around $3.00 per pound for the year, and that's an excellent average. Many people have talked about the price going back to $4.00 per pound for copper, but this does not seem realistic given the current market conditions and the world economy. Even though the electric vehicle market and the eventual electrification of the grid, moving away from coal and natural gas and towards renewable energy sources, will increase the usage of copper, we have yet to see that taking rate effect right now.
Yellow brass averaged just above two dollars per pound in 2022, with prices topping out at around $2.30 per pound. Some of the lower reported prices were in the $1.50 range, but overall we saw solid numbers across the country for reported yellow brass prices. Of course, the brass price will be dictated heavily by the copper and zinc markets, but we are very happy with what we saw at the end of 2022 and predict strong markets in the first half of 2023.
We don't want to leave out items like insulated copper wire as they will follow similar trends to the last few metals we discussed. But we saw THHN Wire around $2.33 as a year average topping out around $2.$.75. Insulated copper wire averaged just below one dollar per pound overall, and those prices top around $1.25.
Outlook for 2023
The demand for copper will stay strong for a while, but the usage and the speed of consumption will be something to look for in 2023. Many parts of the world continue to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. we are watching these markets closely. One major thing to remember is that any type of economic pullback, whether in the United States or across the world, will affect copper prices as these markets are international and traded, taking into account all economic and political environments.
This is a significant thing to remember as many people need to remember that copper is a worldwide traded commodity, unlike the stock market, which has multiple US based companies. The prices for copper and all commodities is dictated by worldwide supply and demand. With a lot of recessionary fears, as well as different political environments across the world, they’re still going to be a lot to figure out when it comes to copper prices in 2023.