MetalMiner Prices

Aluminum Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Aluminum Index and current pricing for 3003-H14 Sheet

Carbon Steel Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Carbon Steel Index and current pricing for A36 Plate, 1008 Sheet, and 1011 Sheet

Nickel Alloy Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Nickel Alloy Index and current pricing for 625 Sheet

Stainless Steel Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Stainless Steel Index and current pricing for 304 Sheet, and 430 Sheet

Titanium Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Titanium Index and current pricing for TI-6-4 Bar
Articles on: Metal Prices

This morning in metals news, a new European steel giant could be coming on the scene, that giant could result in the loss of thousands of jobs and aluminum hits a five-year high ahead of further Chinese supply cuts.

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Tata Steel, ThyssenKrupp Agree to Merge European Operations

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp had agreed to a deal to merge their European steel operations — a merger that has been in the news for more than a year.

According to the report, while there are still some obstacles to completion of the merger, if it goes through the merged operation would make the second-largest steelmaker in Europe, behind only ArcelorMittal.

Merger Could Yield Loss of 4K Jobs

While the potential merger of the Indian steel giant Tata and German firm ThyssenKrupp’s European operations might be cause for celebration for some, it won’t be for a considerable number of workers, according to one report.

The merger of the two firms’ European operations could lead to the loss of 4,000 jobs, according to CNNMoney.

The merger is expected to cut costs by between €400 million and €600 million ($720 million) a year, according to the report.

Aluminum Soars to Five-Year High

Aluminum continued its strong 2017, hitting a five-year high, Reuters reported.

Not surprisingly, news from China has much to do with the rise, as supply cuts are forthcoming from Chinese producer Chinalco, according to the report.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

LME aluminum traded at $2,191 per ton, its highest since September 2012, according to Reuters.

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This morning in metals, the Aluminum Extruders Council praised the Department of Justice for its allegation that Zhongwang and its affiliate illegally evaded $1.5 billion in tariffs, Tokyo Steel is raising its prices and hedge funds are high on the metals industry.

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DOJ Alleges Zhongwang, Affiliate Illegally Avoided $1.5B in Tariffs

The Aluminum Extruders Council applauded the U.S. Department of Justice late last week, praising it for its allegation that China Zhongwang and an affiliate eluded $1.5 billion in tariffs while smuggling aluminum pallets into the U.S.

“We want to applaud the Department of Justice’s decision to begin civil proceedings against Zhongwang’s affiliate Perfectus,” said Jeff Henderson, president of the Aluminum Extruders Council. “Today’s filing is the culmination of a concerted effort by the AEC and its members in conjunction with Customs and the Department of Commerce to investigate Zhongwang’s alleged attempts to avoid paying duties since the orders went into effect. The AEC will continue to assist the agencies in their efforts to investigate this matter going forward.

“Furthermore, this should be a clear signal to those that seek to evade, circumvent, or in any way violate our orders that such activities will be uncovered and prosecuted.”

According to the civil complaint in the Department of Justice investigation, California company Perfectus Aluminum Inc. is allegedly owned by Liu Zhongtian, founder and chairman of Zhongwang.

Tokyo Steel Ups Prices

Tokyo Steel announced its prices will be going up in October, Reuters reported.

The price hike, which is taking place for the second month in a row, comes as a result of higher prices overseas and a tight domestic market, according to the report.

Hedge Funds Feeling Metal

The hedge fund industry is feeling good about the future of the metal industry.

According to Reuters, hedge fund investment in the metals industry is at its highest since 2011.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

A major reason for the bounceback? A tightening of global supply, to a significant extent the product of China’s supply cuts.

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In August, base metals experienced a breathtaking rally in prices.

Two-Month Trial: Metal Buying Outlook

For example, aluminum and copper increased by 8% and 9%, respectively. Bullish sentiment dominates the overall industrial metals market. A weaker dollar has also accompanied the uptrend in base metals (although the dollar has had less of an impact this year than it has historically).

Why is Tin Trapped?

Contrary to other base metals, tin appears  trapped in the $19,000-$21,000 range since the beginning of 2017.

While tin has seen less volatility than other base metals, such as copper, it refuses to give signs of moving either up or down. Tin seems to be trading sideways.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of FastMarkets

Looking at fundamentals, tin appears headed for a 22,000-ton deficit for 2017, according to the International Tin Research Institute (ITRI). This supply shortfall, in theory, should act as a price support to tin.

Trading volumes appear stable, too, and are not yet pointing toward any specific direction.

How Have Other Base Metals Traded So Far?

September has started with a general fall in base metal prices, with copper prices seeing the biggest decline.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of FastMarkets

Aluminum, nickel and zinc prices have also fallen since the beginning of this month. The current downtrend is a price pullback — a normal pattern we see after big price gains.

Buying organizations might want to analyze price movements and trading volumes to commit to purchases.

In bullish markets, like we have now, buying organizations can adapt their buying strategies to  time purchases.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

To understand how to adapt a buying strategy to your needs, dive into our deeper analysis in our Monthly Metal Buying Outlooks.

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This afternoon in metals news, black cabs in London will be moving toward electric power, production of copper and steel is up in Kazakhstan, and Dr. Copper appears to be backsliding after its previously torrid pace.

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Electric Cabs?

Further adding momentum to the electric vehicle industry, black cabs in London will soon be powered by electricity.

Sapa SA’s aluminum plant in Wales will reopen this week and supply parts for automakers like London Electric Vehicle Co., the maker of black cabs, Bloomberg reported.

The move is part of the overall comeback for aluminum, which works in tandem with the rise of the electric vehicle, particularly the U.K.’s effort to phase out vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 2040.

Copper, Steel Output Up in Kazakhstan

Cooper and steel production have surged in Kazakhstan through the first seven months of the year, according to a Reuters report.

For January-August, copper production is up 5.5% and crude steel production is up 9.7% in Kazakhstan, according to Statistics Committee data.

Copper Price Begins to Slide

The metal often referred to as “Dr. Copper” boasted a healthy diagnosis as late as last month, when the metal hit a three-year high.

But political tensions on the Korean peninsula, among other things, have seen the metal’s price begin to backslide.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

The copper price has dipped 6% since Sept. 8, when President Donald Trump said the U.S. would not rule out a military option vis-a-vis North Korea’s latest nuclear test, according to Reuters.

The workings of the London Metal Exchange, however vital for the day-to-day pricing of the metals consumers buy, are often something of a mystery to the average industrial user.

Two-Month Trial: Metal Buying Outlook

Not least, we have always felt, because the language used is the jargon of insiders, traders, brokers and dealers who transact tens, even hundreds, of millions of dollars of transactions in a day. They quietly — or not, if you have ever witnessed open cry trading – move the world’s metal markets in the process.

The accurate and efficient working of those markets is of vital importance to producers, traders and consumers of base and ferrous metals. If markets fail to operate efficiently, if volumes fall and liquidity wanes, the spread between buy and sell can increase, trades do not get promptly laid off and risk increases along with volatility.

We may not know it, we may not like it, but an efficient futures market is in the interest of every metals consumer — so when the new CEO of the LME Matt Chamberlain was officially confirmed in his role in April, one of the first steps was a grassroots review of the Exchange in consultation with users and industry.

To his credit, this was aimed as much at wider users of the Exchange’s services as it was those insiders active on the ring on a daily basis. The result of a long discussion process over several months has been 162 responses from the market, including, in the interest of full disclosure, from MetalMiner.

The result is probably of more interest than the process. But before we pick through the bones, the most encouraging message is the LME’s renewed commitment to physical trading, to the philosophy that has underpinned the exchange for 140 years — that any changes that are made in the way the exchange operates or the services it provides will be driven by the overriding principle that they should support, not harm the LME’s relevance to or ability to serve the physical market, explained Miriam Heywood, the LME’s head of media relations.

For a market that has seen the rise of the CME in the U.S. and the SHFE in China in recent years, it would have been understandable to make hasty attempts to mimic its competitors.

But the LME hasn’t done that, industrial users will likely be pleased to hear.

Read more

Our September MMI report is in the books — overall, it was another strong month for metals.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

For our latest batch of readings, all 10 of the MMI sub-indexes posted upward movement.

It was a big month for aluminum, as the Aluminum MMI rose 8.2% and LME aluminum jumped 10.73% through the month. The Construction and Automotive MMIs also had solid months, while the Copper MMI shot up 7.7% in what was another good month for Dr. Copper.

Meanwhile, in policy news, last week the U.S. Department of Commerce launched an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation into stainless steel flanges from China and India. As our Irene Martinez Canorea wrote in her Stainless MMI report, a preliminary determination in the case is coming Oct. 2.

In addition, today the DOC announced it had launched an investigation into imports of titanium sponge from Japan and Kazakhstan.

More broadly, the Section 232 investigations into aluminum and steel imports are still ongoing. It’s unclear when exactly a ruling will be made, but Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has January deadlines to meet, as he is required to present President Donald Trump with a report and policy recommendations vis-a-vis the probes.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

You can read about all of the aforementioned — and much more — by downloading the September MMI report below.

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This morning in metals news, Chinese steel production once again hit a record last month, copper took a dip, and the gap between high-grade and low-grade iron ore grew larger as China attempts to combat its smog problem.

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Steel Output Hits New Record in China

Steel mills in China cranked up production levels en route to hitting a new monthly production record, according to Bloomberg.

According to the report, Chinese crude steel output hit 74.59 million metric tons in August, surpassing the previous peak of 74.02 million in July.

Copper Falls Back

Copper has been having a good year, but it fell to a four-week low Thursday as a result of what Reuters calls lackluster Chinese economic data.

What appears to be slowing demand from China, the world’s top metals consumer, contributed to the metal’s drop, according to the report.

Premiums Soar for High-Grade Iron Ore

Sticking with the China theme, Reuters reported the gap between high-grade and low-grade iron ore in China grew as a result of the country’s efforts to fight pollution.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

The trading gap between the two forms of ore was at its highest since August 2011, according to the report.

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Mining stocks took a hammering last week, prompting questions as to whether the recent bull run in metal prices has come to an end.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

As steel and iron futures in China slid, share prices in iron ore and base metal miners were sold off around the world in a bearish wave of sentiment sparked, according to mining.com, by the continued appreciation of the Chinese currency against the U.S. dollar.

The Renminbi hit 6.447 against the dollar, gaining nearly 7.8% so far this year and a 21-month peak that appears to be worrying policymakers concerned about China’s export competitiveness.

According to the MetalMiner index, the Dalian exchange 62% Iron Ore settlement price closed at Yuan 534 per metric ton last week, down nearly 7%. Yet, steel demand remains robust in China and iron ore stocks that China’s port dropped for a fifth straight week according to commodity news, to 133 million tons the lowest since May. Indeed, because the currency is still appreciating, it is reported traders like to buy future cargoes in dollars, stockpile them and sell in Renminbi.

Investors Wary of Environmental Measures

One fear weighing on investors of mining stocks is China’s drive for environmental improvements, which is widely expected to result in the closure of steel mills, power plants, aluminum smelters and other sources of pollution (such as zinc and copper smelting).

According to the article, China plans to conduct 15 rounds of inspections during its new campaign starting this month and continuing until March of next year. Any plants that do not meet tougher environmental standards face closure. The resulting loss of production capacity, it is feared, will hit import demand for raw materials such as iron ore and bauxite.

Not surprisingly, iron ore spot prices declined toward the end of the week, but some are seeing current weakness as a natural correction to months of bullish strength.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Physical demand remains strong, suggesting local traders are to frightened by Beijing’s environmental program just yet. Most are waiting for November, when the heating season starts and enforced closures are expected.

The Stainless MMI has inched eight points higher this month, reaching July 2015 levels. The increase was driven by higher nickel prices, together with an increase in stainless steel surcharges.

Stainless steel surcharges have increased this month after decreasing month-over-month since April.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(SM)

Despite the uptick in the Stainless MMI, however, many analysts believe stainless steel will fall  in the upcoming months.

Even if the increase in prices for global stainless steel flat products increased by 6% during the first months of 2017, Oliver Spaltman, senior market analyst for Steel & Metals Market Research (SMMR), estimates that the full-year demand growth in 2017 will be 4%.

In early September, the U.S. Department of Commerce launched anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on stainless steel flange products from China and India. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is scheduled to make its preliminary determinations in the investigations Oct. 2.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of FastMarkets

Nickel prices began falling in early September from their previous peak. However, the uptrend remains clear and strong; we could see upward movements in the coming months.

Higher demand, boosted by Asian battery makers, has aided nickel’s rally. The Chinese electric vehicle market has grown during 2016 and 2017, producing 43% of the worldwide electric vehicle fleet in 2016. If this trend continues, Asian automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) might support nickel prices with their higher battery demand. Also, the latest increases for nickel prices come down to trader sentiment around nickel deficit concerns.

What This Means for Industrial Buyers

Both steel and stainless steel do not appear to follow the same recent increase in industrial metals prices as other base metals.

Every steel form has lost some of its price momentum, but has still notched some increases this month.

To understand how to adapt the buying strategy to your needs, dive into our deeper analysis in our Monthly Metal Buying Outlook.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Actual Stainless Steel Prices and Trends

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This morning in metals news, U.S. primary aluminum is still low despite an increase in prices, China Zhongwang Holding announced it had purchased a German aluminum producer and associations representing steel, soybeans and poultry were united by the issue of steel tariffs.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

U.S. Primary Aluminum Production

Aluminum prices have been on a steady climb in recent months, but primary aluminum production remains low, according to a report in Hellenic Shipping News.

In fact, since January 2015, the country’s primary aluminum production has dropped 50%.

Zhongwang Makes Investment

China Zhongwang Holding announced Wednesday that it is making an investment in a German aluminum producer Aluminiumwerk Unna AG, according to state-owned news agency Xinhua.

The value of the deal has yet to be disclosed, according to the report, but the acquisition is part of Zhongwang’s effort for an increased presence in the aircraft aluminum market.

Steel, Soybeans and Chicken

Associations representing steel, soybeans and chicken came together this week to express their belief regarding the potential negative impact of steel tariffs.

Platts reported that the American Institute for International Steel, the National Chicken Council and the American Soybean Association published a new report covering the impacts of steel tariffs on supply chains.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

The Trump administration’s Section 232 investigation into steel imports is ongoing. The probe, launched in April, has a January deadline for completion.