Monthly Renewables MMI® Holds Steady at 67

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Metal Prices, Premium

The monthly Renewables MMI® registered a value of 67 in April, on par with March’s value.

Increases in US steel plate, US grain-oriented electric steel (GOES) and neodymium prices tempered effective steel plate price drops in Chinese, Japanese and Korean markets to even out the index for the month.

We’re getting mixed signals from market moves in the renewable energy sphere. BP has recently put its $1.5 billion wind power business (2,600 MW worth in nine states) up for sale, signaling that (some say) the oil and gas company “has little confidence in renewable energy.” According to the Daily Finance blog, “the shale oil boom in the U.S. along with a worldwide reduction in renewable subsidies has really clouded that industry’s future. Given limited visibility for wind beyond 2014, when current U.S. tax credits expire, it makes sense for [BP] to exit the business ahead of that time.”

The bottom line is that renewables, well, aren’t helping BP’s bottom line – there are more profits to be made in its oil and gas ventures.

The other side of the coin is that companies such as Exelon may snap up that wind power business, as they’re diversifying and growing in the sector. But that doesn’t seem to mean anything for the current or near-to-midterm-future trends for the Renewables MMI®.

In terms of steel plate trends, the Chinese export market is under pressure with prices dropping and sales slowing, and the US market may see further decreases as well as demand piddles out, according to several metal trade pubs. However, ArcelorMittal US has said that they’re seeing decreased profitability in steel plate, hence their reason behind recent increases, as reported recently in AMM.

Primary Drivers of Renewables Index

US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) rose 9.0 percent to $3,530 per short ton after falling the previous month. After dropping the previous month, the price of US steel plate prices rose 3.0 percent to $751.00 per short ton.

The price of Chinese cobalt cathodes closed the month down 3.8 percent at $32,560 per metric ton. Silicon fell 2.2 percent to $2,128 per metric ton. Last month, Chinese steel plate prices dropped by 1.8 percent to $689.89 per metric ton.

The price of neodymium increased slightly, holding around $68,397 per metric ton. At a price of $988.42 per metric ton, the local price of Korean steel plate did not budge the entire month. Hovering around $858.42 per metric ton for the month, Japanese steel plate remained unchanged in its local market.

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 over a 30-day period. 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.