Circuit board market

Scrap circuit board value declines again

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The average value of metals commonly found in scrap circuit boards sunk for the sixth straight month in June.

The scrap circuit board index, which measures the value of commodity metals proportionally weighted to their share in a pound of scrap circuit boards, declined 4.4 percent from May to June to $6.57 per pound, and it has lost 17.7 percent of its value since the start of the year. In fact, adjusted for inflation, the last time the average price of metals in scrap circuit boards approximated the current value was September 2010.

The continuing decline in the value of recovered boards is linked to weak markets for precious metals. Gold is at a 34-month low and has fallen by roughly 25 percent in the past three months because speculators are abandoning the gold market on news of growing economic stability and the low chance of additional economic stimulus actions by the U.S. Federal Reserve. In addition, a strengthening dollar is pushing investors out of the gold market.

Silver pricing has taken a similar path and is at its lowest point since the summer of 2010.

The scrap circuit board index represents the full metallic values of boards over time and are not the recycling values, as those values do not include the costs involved in actually extracting metal from boards, including freight, sampling charges, assay assessments, smelting, refining, process loss, return on investment, and penalties for various elements, including beryllium, bismuth and nickel.

These values are for the estimated intrinsic metal content of recovered PC boards. Some consumers label such material as mid-value. Lower-value scrap includes monitor and television boards. Higher-value scrap includes motherboards as well as network and video cards.

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