Monthly Automotive MMI® Holds Steady at 104

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MetalMiner Monthly Automotive Metals Index January 2013 graph

Automotive metals price trends in 2012 appear to have aligned with a bolder auto market last year.

The monthly Automotive MMI® registered a value of 104 in January, on par with December’s value. While HDG prices dropped slightly, the overall index reading was tempered by increased in US shredded scrap and Korean aluminum premiums.

As the only monthly index to have held above the January 2012 baseline of 100 throughout Q4 of the last year, the Automotive MMI® reflects a healthy auto sector, both in the US and globally.

Car sales overall were better in 2012, and many predict that US sales will rise about 15 million units in 2013, driven by easier access to loans and evidenced by new vehicle registrations, according to automotive forecasting firm R.L. Polk & Co. cited by the WSJ.

Analysts are calling for car sales to break 16 million in 2014, unless another recession hits the US, which would be the first time since 2007 that number would be reached. Ford recently doubled its dividend after a good 2012, selling 2 million cars over the year and reporting its best December sales since 2006.

Although European auto market outlooks continue to be sour, Chinese markets are healthy. Thanks to Chinese and US luxury buyers, BMW reported deliveries rose 12 percent to a record 1.54 million vehicles in 2012, according to Bloomberg. By comparison, Volkswagen AG’s Audi increased 12 percent to 1.46 million, and Mercedes increased 4.7 percent to 1.32 million units.

IHS Automotive expects BMW’s shipments to increase 4.6 percent to 1.58 million vehicles in 2013.

Primary Price Drivers of Auto Index

US HDG prices fell 0.6 percent to $780.00 per short ton after rising 7.1 percent the previous month. US shredded scrap prices increased 1 percent to $391 per metric ton.

After rising 4.1 percent the previous month, copper 3-month prices dropped 0.5 percent on the LME to $7,914 per metric ton.

The price of Chinese lead closed the month down 1.3 percent, closing at CNY 14,775 ($2,368) per metric ton.

The price of Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet rose 2 percent to KRW 4,360 ($4.10) per kilogram last month.

The Automotive MMI® collects and weights 7 metal price points used in automotive production to provide a unique view into automotive metal trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Automotive MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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