Author Archives: MetalMiner IndX Reports

Uncertainty surrounding the level of construction spending in China continued to hinder construction markets there, as rebar for construction was the biggest mover this week on the weekly Construction MMI®, dropping down 2.4%.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

Despite the news out of China, there was plenty of positive domestic news that buoyed US construction materials prices.

A $7 billion replacement oil pipeline moved forward this week. Enbridge Pipeline announced plans to replace 1,000 miles of its 50-year-old pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada, through North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. While the pipeline project has been approved by Minnesota’s Office of Pipeline Safety, it still must get other permits before the construction can start in 2015, according to Valley News Live of Fargo/Grand Forks, ND. Completion is planned for 2017.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the metals markets of the Construction sector.

More Metal Prices from the IndX℠

The Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines stayed essentially flat. US shredded scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week. Chinese H-beam steel traded sideways last week. Chinese aluminum bar remained unchanged for the week. Following a steady week, prices for European 1050 aluminum closed flat.

The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge rose 0.8 percent to $0.52 per mile after falling 0.5 percent during the previous week. Closing out the third week of rising prices, the weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge increased by 0.6 percent. The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge saw a 0.2 percent drop this week.

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014 (Base Metals, HRC, CRC)

The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

Hulamin Ltd. (HLM), Africa’s largest maker of fabricated aluminum products, has asked South African trade authorities to impose tariffs on aluminum sheet imports, mainly from Brazil.

While exports to Brazil attract a 12 percent duty, aluminum sheet imports from Novelis Inc.’s South American business to beverage can-maker Nampak Ltd. in South Africa are exempt, Richard Jacob, chief executive officer of Pietermaritzburg-based Hulamin, said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. Jacob believes South American producers are being undercut in their own backyard.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Aluminum market.

Aluminum Price Movement

On the LME, the cash price of primary aluminum fell 0.8 percent to $1,715 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of aluminum declined 0.8 percent to $1,756 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian aluminum fell 1 percent on Tuesday, making it the day’s biggest mover.

Chinese aluminum prices were mixed for the day. The cash price of Chinese aluminum fell to a 30-day low after shifting 0.8 percent. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese aluminum billet remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese aluminum bar continues hovering in a small range.

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014

On Tuesday, the steel billet 3-month price experienced the biggest jump this year, rising a significant 5.4 percent on the LME to $390.00 per metric ton. The steel billet cash price remained essentially flat on the LME at $365.00 per metric ton.
One of the major factors in this rise may have been that economic sanctions eased last month under a temporary accord with Iran.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering Steel/Iron Ore markets.

Even after seven years of international sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran still consumes more steel than France or the UK. It’s a major automaker and needs massive infrastructure for its oil and gas industry, consuming about 20 million tons a year of the metal, according to Bloomberg LP. Iran is shaping up as a hot, untapped opportunity for Western steel exporters, particularly high-grade mills.

ArcelorMittal and Russia’s OAO Novolipetsk Steel have mills in central Asia that supplied Iran before sanctions began in 2007, when it imported 12.2 million tons a year of the metal, a value of $6 billion today. Other steelmakers are quietly testing the waters.

About 45 producers sent representatives to a steel conference last month in Tehran to study export opportunities and investing in Iran’s domestic industry, Bloomberg reported.

In other markets, Chinese steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price fluctuated in a range within $1 US. The price of Chinese HRC declined 1.5 percent. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat.

After two changeless days, the US HRC futures contract 3-month price fell 0.3 percent. The spot price of the US HRC futures contract saw little movement on Tuesday.

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014

 

 

On Tuesday, March 11, the day’s biggest mover on the MetalMiner IndX℠ was Chinese copper wire, which saw a 6.4 percent decline. As noted in yesterday’s daily Copper MMI story, uncertainty over the amount of copper being warehoused by Chinese banking institutions as an investment is causing copper’s free-fall there.

MetalMiner analyst Stuart Burns notes that even the best guesses of how much copper is being warehoused there are still just guesses, meaning that the metal could quickly bounce back if significant quantities are sold off.

After falling 0.8 percent, the price of Chinese copper bar reached a 30-day low. The Chinese copper cash price reached a 30-day low as well after decreasing 0.8 percent. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese bright copper scrap held flat.

Find out more about MetalMiner’s copper price forecasting capability to help your metal sourcing efforts.

“Estimates of China’s copper inventory are hazy, at best,” Burns said. “The best guess, according to Reuters, is about 700,000 metric tons held in Shanghai’s bonded warehouse zone. In the past when inventory has become stressed, maybe by a negative arbitrage window, metal has readily flowed out of the country and with a currently physically challenged global market – the LME is in backwardation with prompt delivery tightness – more metal would actually be welcome.”

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

In other copper markets, the cash price of primary Japanese copper fell 3.6 percent. There were one percent drops for all US producer grades. The price of US copper producer grade 122 fell 1 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 110 weakened by 1 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 102 declined 1 percent.

Despite the uncertainly about Chinese copper and the drops in Japan and the US, after a couple of days of decreasing prices on the LME, the copper 3-month price held steady. The primary copper cash price steadied following two-days of dropping prices on the LME.

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014

Glencore Xstrata is considering purchasing BHP Australia’s nickel assets, according to Bloomberg, while the nickel spot price saw a 1.3 percent drop on the LME on Tuesday, landing at $15,130 per metric ton and making it the biggest mover of the day on our stainless and nickel index.

Also on the LME, the 3-month price of nickel fell 1.1 percent to $15,160 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel increased 1.1%.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Stainless/Nickel markets.

BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia produced 103,300 metric tons of the metal in 2013. The assets include the Mount Keith open-cut nickel mine and concentrator, two underground mines and a concentrator at Leinster, nickel concentrate and smelting plants at Kalgoorlie and the Kwinana site, which produces nickel briquettes and powder. China’s largest nickel producer, Jinchuan, raised its benchmark nickel price on Wednesday, tracking the metal’s performance on the LME.

Meanwhile, Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the day. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese ferro-moly was unchanged as well.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

The price of Chinese primary nickel weakened by 0.9 percent. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held steady. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held flat. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat.

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014 (Base Metals, HRC, CRC)

Prices for silicon saw the biggest increase on the weekly Renewables MMI® this week, rising 0.7 percent. Chinese steel plate saw a 0.3 percent decline over the past week. The price of Chinese cobalt cathodes did not change since the previous week. Prices for neodymium remained constant.

Silicon and other metals and materials renewables received a boost from news out of California that Tesla Motors is investing $4-$5 billion in a new factory to double the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries. Not only would battery costs going down help the adoption of electric cars such as Tesla’s, but their relatively inexpensive availability would also help technologies such as solar and wind power to gain greater adoption as they could more easily store energy when there is no sun or wind.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Renewable Energy metals market.

Renewable home energy technologies such solar and onshore wind are already coming down dramatically in price – the industry forecasts they will be cheaper than grid electricity in most of the world by 2025 – but having the ability to store energy has always been their disadvantage. After all, you want your lights on when the wind isn’t blowing. A cheap, effective battery solution is what’s needed for both to gain more widespread acceptance.

Meanwhile, back in the metal markets that supply the renewables industry, following a steady week, prices for Japanese steel plate closed flat. Korean steel plate traded sideways last week, hovering around a strong price. Chinese steel plate prices were off slightly, down from  a week ago. The week finished with no movement for US steel plate. US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) continues hovering in place for the fifth day in a row.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

FREE Download: 7 Metal Buying Strategies for 2014

The Renewables MMI® collects and weights 8 metal price points used extensively within the renewable energy industry to provide a unique view into renewable energy metal price trends. For more information on the Renewables MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

Osisko Mining Corp. has reported that “proven and probable gold reserves now stand at 9.37 million ounces, a slight little lower due to the company using a lower gold price,” reports Kitco.

“’Using a 12% lower gold price (US$1300 versus US$1475), the net difference from the 2013 estimate of 10.1 million ounces is only 235,000 fewer ounces (2%), once 2013 production (before recovery) is taken into account,’ says Sean Roosen, president and chief executive officer of Osisko. ‘We’ve always contended that Canadian Malartic is a superior, world class deposit, and these numbers once again prove our point. Even in a challenging gold price environment, the mine maintains its strong economics.'”

“The company expects to stabilize mill throughput in 2014 at around 55,000 metric tons per day, which is expected to lead to an increase in gold production in 2014, between 525,000 and 575,000 ounces of gold. The company achieved record production in 2013 with 475,277 ounces of gold.”

In metal price news for precious metals…

On Tuesday, March 11, the day’s biggest mover was Indian silver, which saw a 4.1 percent decline. After improving for two days, the price of Japanese silver declined 3.7 percent. US silver ended the day at $20.84 per ounce, after the 0.4 percent drop yesterday. Chinese silver stayed flat.

Following a couple days of improvement, the price of Japanese gold bullion weakened by 1.1 percent. Chinese gold bullion prices inched up 0.6 percent. Indian gold bullion fell 0.5 percent yesterday. The price of US gold bullion declined 0.1 percent.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Precious markets.

The price of Japanese platinum bar closed. Following a couple days of improvement, the metal’s price weakened by 1.0 percent. The price of Chinese platinum bar finished the market day up 0.3 percent per gram. US platinum bar saw little change in its price yesterday.

Following two days of rising prices, the price of Japanese palladium bar dropped 0.6 percent. The price of Chinese palladium bar fell 0.6 percent. US palladium bar closed 0.1 percent lower.

The North American net new aluminum mill order index in February was down 7.1% from January, the Aluminum Association said Monday. New mill orders also slipped 2.9% from February 2013, and the year-to-date index is down 2%, the group said in a report.

February plate orders tumbled 22% from January, but were up 15.6% from February 2013. February sheet orders were down 7.9% from January and down 1.8% from the year-ago period.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Aluminum market.

What About Today’s Prices?

The cash price of primary Indian aluminum saw a 1 percent increase on Monday, March 10, making it the biggest mover for the day.

On the LME, the 3-month price of aluminum declined 0.2 percent to $1,770 per metric ton. The cash price of primary aluminum saw a 0.1 percent decline on the LME to $1,729 per metric ton.

Chinese aluminum prices closed flat for the day. The cash price of Chinese aluminum held steady. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap was unchanged as well. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese aluminum billet held flat. The price of Chinese aluminum bar also remained essentially flat.

The cash price of steel billet saw a 1.4 percent drop on the LME on Monday, landing at $365.00 per metric ton and making it the biggest mover of the day. The steel billet 3-month price saw a 1.3 percent decline on the LME to $370.00 per metric ton.

Chinese steel futures hit record lows and spot iron ore prices posted the biggest one-day fall in more than four years on Monday after China’s trade balance swung into deficit and amplified fears of a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy, according to Reuters. The most-traded rebar for October delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid 4 percent to settle at its lowest ever level, falling by its daily downside limit.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

Chinese steel prices were mixed for the day, despite the futures market. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India fluctuated in a short range. Monday saw the price of Chinese HRC drift down 0.9 percent after three quiet days. The price of Chinese coking coal held steady.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering Steel/Iron Ore markets.

The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 0.2 percent on Monday after three straight days with no change. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little change in its price on Monday.

Much of the recent speculation in nickel was based on the demand in China – the world’s largest user of industrial metals – and how its government might deal with its $21 trillion debt load in fiscal year 2014.

Following two days of increases on the LME, the 3-month price of nickel dropped by 1 percent Monday. The Indian nickel cash price weakened by nearly as much. Following two days of improvement, the metal’s price weakened by 0.8 percent on the LME.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – price trends for 10 metal markets.

China’s leaders spurred speculation they will allow the debt mountain to further inflate after refraining from cutting their annual economic growth target on March 5.

Analysts at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. and Nomura Holdings, Inc. said authorities will need to loosen monetary policy, after Premier Ki Keqiang announced a goal of 7.5 percent growth, the same target as last year. Li said China will seek an “appropriate” increase in credit.

Meanwhile, Chinese stainless steel closed mixed yesterday. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering in a short range for the fifth day in a row.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

The price of Chinese primary nickel rose 0.5 percent. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held flat. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil also held steady and  the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was unchanged as well.