|By Justin McClelland and Kelsey Cano, Hamilton JournalNews, Ohio|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The prices of metal are important because they determine the cost of practically every item, from automobiles to homes to small to television. Gold in particular is that standard to which the prices of everything else is judged.
"It's basic supply and demand," said
The exception to this trend is gold, whose prices continue to climb as the year draws to a close.
"Business is booming," said
Gold is trading at 15.8 percent higher than it was this time last year on the stock market, with an ounce of gold worth about
Aluminium is down 10. 77 percent, according to tradingeconomics.com. In April, aluminium reached it's historic high, when it was worth
The drop in prices for non-gold metals has caused buying and selling of scrap metal to decline, Cohen said.
Prices of metals like aluminium and copper are down approximately 20-25 percent from where they were just a few months ago, said Cohen.
Cohen said he is currently buying aluminum at .50 a pound, compared to .70 over the summer. Copper is being purchased for
The winter months also play a factor, Cohen said, with scavengers simply not willing to brave the cold to search for precious metals to sell.
Lankford, however, said he believes the price for gold will continue to rise in the coming months.
Lankford said he has a wide range of clientele.
"Some people are just living paycheck-to-paycheck, hoping to sell enough to pay their heating bill or electric but other people have just held on to their gold for a long time and want to sell it now, to pay for a nice vacation or just have some extra money," Lankford said.
He also said many people favor his opinion that gold prices will continue to rise and are buying it from him as an investment.
"With the dollar continuing to be worth less, something has to be stable and that's why gold's doing so well," Lankford said.
Despite the drop in demand, theft of metals is still a problem for residents and business owners.
With a roller skating rink, basketball court, skateboarding and inflatables, Barger said air conditioning is a necessity to run his business.
"It's a family thing and parents don't want to sit around and be hot," he said, noting he lost a lot of money when he had to close
Barger and other tenants located in the strip mall are waiting for an insurance claim to come through, he said. A total of 22 air conditioning units were ruined when copper was removed from them. He's looking into installing alarms on the units or motion sensor lights on his roof to prevent being targeted from the thieves in the future, he said.
"The biggest tip is to be vigilant, not just for yourself, but neighbors too. Vacant homes, or homes that appear empty, are always prime targets because the would-be thieves can get in, get out, and it would be weeks or months before the theft is even discovered," he said.
Scrap metal thefts have been steady for years, but were probably worse in 2011 due to the economy and vacant home numbers, he said.
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(c)2011 the Hamilton JournalNews (Hamilton, Ohio)
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