ArcelorMittal Upbeat on US Auto Sales, But Monthly Automotive MMI® Falls

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Metal Prices, Premium

Our monthly Automotive MMI® bumbled down to 97 in May, a decrease of 4 percent from 101 in April, thereby dipping below the Jan. 2012 baseline of 100 for the first time since August of last year.

The metals that comprise the index, led by drops in US HDG steel and LME copper prices, aligns pretty closely with the US auto sales trend for the last three months. According to Ward’s Auto, US light vehicle sales dropped off to “a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.9 million units,” which “was the lowest for any month since 14.2 million last October.”

Perhaps this is the harbinger of sustained drop-offs for the automotive industry? Not if you listen to the likes of Toyota (which expects much higher profits in the year to come “as a result of a weaker yen, improved US demand and relentless efforts to cut costs“) and ArcelorMittal (check out our interview with Blake Zuidema, AM’s director of auto applications, below – skip to 1:09 for his take on automotive demand):

Key Price Drivers

After rising the previous month, US palladium bar prices dropped 9.6 percent to $697.00 per ounce. A 6.7 percent decline for the cash price of primary copper on the LME left it at $7,073 per metric ton. Following a 6.7 percent decline, the 3-month price of copper reached $7,105 per metric ton on the LME. The price of US HDG closed the month at $706.00 per short ton after dropping 6.1 percent. US platinum bar prices fell 4.0 percent to $1,505 per ounce after rising the previous month. A 3.7 percent drop left the Chinese lead price at CNY 13,850 ($2,246) per metric ton.

At a price of $3.96 per kilogram, Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet did not budge the entire 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.