Humor

At the Metalminer Week-In-Review, we promise to report accurate prices every day through our Indx. But what if that’s not enough? What about the add-ons, over-and-aboves and shipping charges? Buying steel? We’ve got bar fuel surcharges for eight US regions. Eight!

Free Webinar: Are You Speculating When You Buy Spot Metals?

We’ve been covering that pesky Midwest aluminum premium like Richard Sherman on a wideout, too. Want to know about anti-dumping and countervailing duties. You’ve come to the right place! All of these non-price inputs made our homepage this week as the gulf between the price and what you actually pay reared its head again this week.

Who Polices the Midwest Premium?

With falling London Metal Exchange aluminum prices and much-reduced physical delivery premiums even the combined, all-in price of aluminum is below cost for many smelters these days.

Pile of aluminium bricks waiting for transport to the factory

I’m aluminum, get me out of this warehouse!

That’s enough reason for smelters such as Alcoa, Inc., to question the involvement of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in discussions with the LME on how best to reform their warehouse network and cut down the one-year-plus wait to get ingots out of the operations in Detroit (Metro International) and Vlissingen, Netherlands (Pacorini).

Higher premiums benefit producers such as Alcoa and UC Rusal, after all. Is it any wonder that producers want the CFTC to butt out? Yet, the CFTC still wants to butt in.

Don’t Let Your Profitability Drown in the VAT!

Meanwhile, over in China, rampant speculation is going on over how Beijing will replace its current business tax system with a new system of value-added taxes. A VAT taxes the difference between the sale price charged to a customer, minus the cost of materials and other taxable inputs.

container-ship-night-MMslider

Better pay the VAT or this is going to be a short trip!

The best estimates we have seen show that the new VAT will considerably increase what US buyers pay for metals from China and likely from nearby markets trying to compete with Chinese steel. China’s VAT is just one of many ways that imports could become more expensive later this year as…

Tariffs On Foreign Steel Could Increase This Fall

Coiledsteel_585

At least export me for as much as it cost to produce me. I feel I deserve at least that much.

We already know some Chinese producers are exporting steel and other metals at below their production cost. So, the anti-dumping action against coated/anti-corrosion steel filed by six US producers last week against China and four other nations has a really good chance of turning into anti-dumping duties this Fall when the Commerce Department makes a ruling on the petition.

We’d say it’s kind of a slam dunk, but even slam dunks can be hilariously missed. The tariffs the US producers are asking for are in a range that would significantly increase the overall cost of steel from the five nations.

That was the wild week in non-prices. Next week we hope to write more about, you know, actual prices.

Free Download: Latest Metal Price Trends in the June MMI Report

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This week our metals faced off against a resurgent US dollar and, once again, lost ground.

Free Download: Latest Metal Price Trends in the May MMI Report

It’s enough to make a metals trader or buyer need a stiff cocktail. How about a nice Moscow Mule in a copper mug? Two ounces of vodka, four ounces of ginger beer and one ounce of lime juice just isn’t the same in glassware. How can your fizzy ginger beer be served in plain, old glassware? Well, badly.

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Our May MMI Report, tracking ten major metal price points, came out this week.

Pool 4 Tool’s Automotive SRM Summit

As always, the MMI reflects the global market (BLS indexes by default only include US data, but that may or may not be representative of underlying global price trends) and metal prices often depend upon the underlying demand for various industries (steel prices relate to construction industry activity, for instance).

Most of our readers are buyers of aluminum, copper, stainless steel, raw steels, rare earths, automotive, construction, renewables and grain-oriented electrical steel… but some go for the VERY minor metals.

For these special users, we provide the fictitious MMI. Serving all your needs for adamantium, Rearden metal, kryptonite ore and vibranium. We recently had to move unobtainium off the list because it’s information was just too hard to obtain to keep listing.

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The big news in metals this week was China’s economy growing at the slowest rate since 2009. If our bearish markets are to turn around this year, it would appear they’re going to have to do it without help from the world’s second-largest economy.

Free Webinar: MetalMiner’s Q2 and Q3 2015 Forecasts

But that’s not all that we learned from China this week. In many ways, China doesn’t really look like an economy growing at even 7%, with exports plunging in March, power generation dropping 3.7%, and a host of other indicators pointing to sluggish growth. This is bad because the most of the demand for our metals is based on China at least maintaining 7.5% economic growth. In today’s world economy, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

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As we struggled through a week of bearish forecasts and weak growth, bears just started popping up everywhere, too. No matter how much you tried to not think about it, the bearish outlook for our metal markets was omnipresent.

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One of them was staring at us from our Q2/Q3 forecast webinar. Vladimir Putin was riding one in toy form. Even the beloved, cuddly ones like Winnie the Pooh and his new movie made us think of poorly performing markets and surplus stocks. That’s when we thought, is this bear market really that big and bad?

Respect the Bear

Should we really fear bear markets? Sure, everyone WANTS bull markets, but bears serve a valuable purpose by creating supply and demand equilibrium and separating visitors to national parks from their pick-a-nick baskets. Bull markets can’t even exist without the occasional bear putting things right.

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In February, we told you about Assistant Editor Jeff Yoders’ nominations in two categories for the 2015 Jesse H. Neal Awards from American Business Media.

A Building Design + Construction team series that included Jeff’s BIM coverage – “5 tech trends transforming BIM/VDC” – won the Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Package last week.

After being notified of his win last Friday, Yoders checked out a giant “win second Neal Award” box on a large t0-do list in the MetalMiner conference room and announced his retirement.

Jeff wrote two parts of the five-part series including an examination of how the Department of Energy overhauled its EnergyPlus building simulation program and another about tech trends that are transforming building information modeling and virtual design and construction.

“Back when I started writing about BIM and VDC in 2005, I vowed that I would not rest until we revolutionized the way construction projects are procured and delivered,” Yoders said. “Well, at long last, that day is here. Well, bye!”

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This week we examined several metal/currency movements which were not what they’d outwardly appear to be.

Free Download: Cut Your Zinc Shipping Costs

Whether it’s the supposed zinc deficit, the seemingly sharp fall of the US dollar or the USA dropping to fourth in steel production, our reaction was largely “We know better than to panic about that.”

All the more reason for you to trust MetalMiner for all your metals’ sourcing needs. We won’t steer you wrong 😉

Honey, I Shrunk the Zinc Deficit

This week, my colleague Stuart Burns asked where that supposed zinc deficit is? As recently as January major bank HSBC was insisting that the zinc market was in deficit. Even The World Bureau of Metal Statistics said in their February report that the zinc market was in deficit by 262,000 metric tons during the January to December 2014 period, compared to a 95,000-mt surplus for 2013.

Yeah, not so much.

Burns deftly explains how the London Metal Exchange’s Commitments of Traders Report (COTR) shows that longs have moved to shorts, suggesting not just that investors switched when they saw the prices fall, but may well have created the fall by bailing out of long positions they had built up in the expectation of supply shortages that were not materializing.

Stick with us and you’ll know which deficits and surpluses are real and which ones are phantoms.

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U.S. Steel Corp. received approval for its Alabama electric arc furnace this week.

Free Download: Latest Metal Price Trends in the March MMI Report

Wouldn’t it be great to have your own backyard EAF? You could make your own steel products — such as big, giant swords — from scrap such as old appliances and discarded steel or tin cans. Even if you’re not reusing the metal, you could melt just about anything.

King of Random Grant Thompson explains how on YouTube. This lifehack shows how the electrodes from lantern batteries and an alumina-silicate refractory brick can be used to make your own mini EAF. There is also a nice tutorial on how to make your own zinc ingots here, too.

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Are you seeing things in your graphs? Florida’s Gulf Coast in raw steel movements? San Francisco’s Nob Hill in US dollar index if you flip it to its side?

Free Download: Latest Metal Price Trends in the March MMI Report

You may have graphmind. There’s no cure.

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MetalCrawler crawls the web for the latest metal news so you don’t have to. We even get that hard to reach metal news from China.
Free Download: Learn How to Lock in Shipping Costs on Your International Trades

We’ve also got more on the Gold Apple Watch and Chile’s copper mining industry.

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