Scrap Copper Prices and The Black Market
When one thinks of precious metals that are attractive to thieves one would automatically envision the usual suspects: gold, silver, and platinum. There as one other metal that is highly coveted by thieves. That metal is scrap copper. Yes, scrap copper. Along with aluminum, scrap copper prices on the illegal market have soared in order to meet an insatiable demand of purchasers.
What items are being stolen to fuel the demand of copper that drives high scrap copper prices? Common everyday items such as copper wire and copper pipes are the most common. And they are also the most abundant. As such, they become incredibly attractive to thieves.
Scrap copper prices on the illegal market are higher than one could imagine. Scrap copper prices range from $1.25 to $3.50 on the black market. That is an enormous increase of scrap prices in a relatively short period of time. As such, it is no surprise that there is an increase in burglaries that are orchestrated with the express purpose of liberating people from their copper wire.
What is it that drives the scrap copper prices up so high? And why is there such a demand for stolen, raw scrap copper? The short answer to that question is scarcity abroad. When a foreign market desires a certain amount of copper and normal channels are not providing them with the amount they require, they will take back door steps to fill their need.
Scrap prices escalate in order to meet the demands of the foreign market. This foreign demand is the direct result of construction and urbanization increases in developing countries. When the availability of copper diminishes and the demand increase, scrap prices will invariably go up. And when moral qualms are not an issue, thievery will increase. So, next time you lock up you gold bracelet, be sure to secure your copper plumbing as well.