AK Steel, ATI Happy, But GOES Price Plunge Blocks Renewables Index From Recovery

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renewable-energy-metals-price-index-chart

MetalMiner’s monthly Renewables MMI® dropped 4.4 percent for December, mainly driven by the huge dropoff in the grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) price, even though steel plate prices – formidable components of the index – were mixed.

US steel plate prices actually rose, but our medium-term steel market outlook overall appears pretty gray.

Compare with last month’s trends – here’s our free November MMI® Report.

In GOES News: AK Steel-ATI Ruling

The International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a preliminary ruling recently that AK Steel and Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) were in the right regarding their anti-dumping case against GOES importers. Even more recently, the ITC ruled again in favor of AK Steel in that company’s non-oriented electrical steel case (NOES). The cases now move on to the Commerce Department. How can we explain the plunge in our GOES price (more below)? Stay tuned.

One Key Metric…

US power construction spending decreased in October 2013, down 3.7% from last month and more than 15% from one year ago, which coincides with our monthly Renewables MMI® drop. While spending increased dramatically during Q3/Q4 2012 compared to the year’s first half, that trend is certainly not being repeated in 2013. More on this correlation in our monthly GOES MMI®, to be published next week.

Outlook for Renewable Energy Industries

A couple weeks ago, Renewable Energy World reported that the outlook for the solar side of the house was rather rosy, with the key themes being that “demand in Asia is rising, Europe is stabilizing, and manufacturers are starting to ramp up production again.” Associate editor James Montgomery points out that solar photovoltaic (PV) “manufacturers are opening their wallets again: global capital spending is predicted to surge 42 percent to $3.3 billion in 2014, and another 32 percent to $4.3 billion in 2015,” supporting it with this:

US-solar-industry-spending

Via Renewable Energy World

However, industry pub North American Wind Power points to a new report by MAKE Consulting, noting that while offshore wind power growth is expected to remain solid in Europe and China, “development in the Americas will be limited to a few demonstration projects this decade, with significant growth expected only beyond 2020.”

Key Price Drivers

Following a 16.2 percent decline, US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) by far lost the most ground this month. Japanese steel plate dropped 4 percent. Chinese steel plate closed the month after dropping 1.3 percent. Chinese cobalt cathodes fell 2.5 percent.

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US steel plate prices, however, inched up 2.3 percent. Korean steel plate rose slightly. The price of silicon held steady. Prices for neodymium remained constant this past month.

Don’t forget to read November 2013 MMI analysis before December’s full report comes out next week!

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.