Caterpillar's Cost Management Key to Competitiveness; Global Copper Prices Fall

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Caterpillar Inc‘s recent deal with South Milwaukee’s United Steelworkers union highlighted how a flexible wage system contributes to the mining equipment company’s market competitiveness.

“The company, with sales of $66 billion annually, has said flexibility is key in managing costs, especially since it’s a global player,” according to a Chicago Tribune article. “About 20 to 25 percent of its workforce is made up of temporary workers hired through staffing agencies. The company also has the ability to temporarily shutter plants and lay off management.”

Such are the economic times we live in. For companies like Cat, creativity is the new tool being used to fill its manufacturing skills gap – and save its bottom line as it expects sales of mining equipment to be 30 percent lower the latter half of this year.

Caterpillar Inc. and the copper market are inextricably linked as far as the mining outlook is concerned – here’s what happened in prices of copper globally over the past week.

The week’s biggest mover on MetalMiner’s weekly Copper MMI® was the Japanese copper cash price, which saw a 5.7 percent decline. This week marked the third in a row of declining prices for the metal.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXThe price of US copper producer grade 122 fell 3.3 percent over the past week. The price of US copper producer grade 110 saw a 3.3 percent drop-off this week as well. This week, the price of US copper producer grade 102 fell 3.1 percent. Korean copper strip remained unchanged for the week.

Chinese copper prices were mixed for the week. The price of Chinese copper bar declined 1.8 percent over the past week. The Chinese copper cash price closed last week after a 1.8 percent drop. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese copper wire closed flat. Prices for Chinese bright copper scrap remained constant.

Following a 0.9 percent increase in the week prior, the primary copper cash price fell 3.5 percent on the LME last week to $7,057 per metric ton. The copper 3-month price fell 3.4 percent on the LME to $7,093 per metric ton after rising 0.8 percent the week before.

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The Copper MMI® collects and weights 12 global copper metal price points to provide a unique view into copper price trends. For more information on the Copper MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.