Aluminum Pricing Explained

Aluminum is a metal used everywhere that multiple industries heavily rely on, from the automotive industry to the food and beverage industry. This creates a high demand for this metal and it’s still one of the most tradeable materials in the world.

If you’ve been looking to dip your toes in the aluminum trade, you probably wondered how much is aluminum per pound. However, there are several other things you need to be aware of, including what affects the price of aluminum and what is the best time to sell. 

Without further ado, let’s start learning more about trading aluminum,  how much is aluminum per pound, and other information that will help you sell aluminum like a proper pro.

The average price of aluminum

How much is aluminum per pound is a complex question. Just as with any other commodity, the price of this metal varies from month to month (and even day to day). 

Naturally, how much aluminum per pound also depends on the price people are willing to pay – your classic law of supply and demand. In short, the prices fluctuate as the amount sold rises and falls.

In the US, from 2011 to 2021, the price of aluminum ingot was $1.40 per pound. While the price was averaging around $2.900 per metric tonne. Generally, the price of this metal is on an upward trend. To illustrate, the price floated around $0.15 in the 90s while today, that number is around $0.35 and up.

What affects how much is aluminum per pound

Several factors play a part in how much is aluminum per pound. While supply and demand are pretty important, it’s not the only factor you should consider. Here are a few additional factors::

1. The cost of electricity

The demand and supply of power also play a major role in how much is aluminum per pound. 

More than a third of the price of aluminum production simply goes on electricity, as power is needed to turn bauxite into aluminum. 

When the demand for electricity goes up, so does the price, and consequently, the price of aluminum itself. 

This is clear when you look at the rising demand for energy resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war that has led to a sharp increase in aluminum prices in Europe.

2. Industry-specific demands

Innovations in technology and demands in different industries can make the prices of aluminum swing up or down. This is especially true for industries that rely on aluminum to drive innovation. For example, adjustments in production and a greater reliance on green energy can all lead to a higher demand for aluminum.

3. The seasons

The time of year plays a  role in how much is aluminum per pound. For instance, in winter, the demand for aluminum is not as high so the price of aluminum drops accordingly. There are simply not that many construction projects occurring in the winter.

On top of that, transporting materials gets significantly more challenging which can also play a part in the higher price of aluminum.

4. International trade

The majority of aluminum production is taking place in countries like Australia. China, and Brazil. That means that they have an astounding amount of influence on the availability of this metal. 

5. Stability of the production

The supply of aluminum can take a hit whenever there are problems in mines and mills. For example, if there is a strike at a bauxite mine or an aluminum mill ceases with production and if any of those two have trouble filling job openings, it can reduce the amount of available aluminum.

Naturally, if the demand stays the same while the supply plummets, the price of aluminum will increase. 

What is the best time to sell?

The best time to sell aluminum is during summer when the demand is at an all-time high. Why? Simply because there is more consumption in the industries such as construction. While it’s true that this metal is used all year long in the manufacturing of different products, a small spike in demand can significantly impact the price.

If you’re selling locally, the best time to sell depends on your location. While collecting scrap is usually best done during the beginning and end of the month, your local scrap yard will determine the prime time to sell. We recommend calling your local scrap yard and getting a feel for their service of your local scrap yard.

Where can you find aluminum scrap?

Now that you have a better idea of how much is aluminum per pound, you should work on finding some more. Luckily, this material, as we previously mentioned, is wildly available.

Since aluminum is one of the lightest yet most durable materials, it’s an integral part of consumer packaging. For instance, you can find aluminum cans, food containers, and even foil by looking through kitchens, dining halls, and other public places.

If you don’t want to go around collecting cans, you can set your eyes on a bigger target – vehicle bodies. 

Aluminum is resistant to corrosion which makes it a popular building material for most vehicles, such as cars, trains, and trucks. Additionally, aluminum isn’t only limited to bodies of vehicles, you can also find it in parts like the wheels, body panels, and engine blocks. This is one of the main reasons you’ll often spot a lot of scrappers taking apart vehicles. 

You can also find aluminum on construction sites. The properties of this metal and its reusability make it perfect for all kinds of construction projects. If you visit any commercial construction site you can find aluminum in roofs, siding, frames, walls, door handles, etc.

A great source of aluminum is old HVAC units. Since this material is essential in different healing and cooling appliances, getting your hands on some old HVACs could be a great score.

If you have access to marine ships, you can also find a lot of aluminum in hulled vessels and hovercrafts.

Why you should recycle

When you consider how much is aluminum per pound, you might think scrapping aluminum isn’t worth it. While it’s true that it’s not the most expensive material, you could earn some nice pocket change. 

However, recycling aluminum is more about altruism as you can help play your part in reducing mining, saving energy, and boosting the economy. By recycling, you can reserve 80% of the energy required to process new aluminum, which makes a difference in the long run.

If you care about the environment but also want some extra money, aluminum is a fine choice. You can also find it almost anywhere! Good luck!