Niche markets like grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) tend to develop their own set of pricing trends.
In some respects, GOES appears more volatile than most of the other metals we track. In some cases prices bump up $350 per metric ton in a month and in others they fall nearly $200/mt. MetalMiner’s monthly M3 index moved up significantly with a 15.2% jump:
In the case of the domestic market, we essentially have an oligopoly controlled by a small handful of players who [sort of] set the domestic price.
We say sort of because the customer base for GOES is highly concentrated. In many cases the buying power does indeed rest with the buyer. Despite the volatility, GOES also remains in a bearish trend as well.
Did the Anti-Dumping Case Change Anything?
Last fall, we released a compilation report of multiple GOES stories we ran, covering primarily the US domestic producer anti-dumping filing. For those in the industry who have followed developments closely, the story ended before the Department of Commerce ultimately ruled against the domestic producers.
We say the story ended because large electrical power equipment manufacturers moved their supply chains to alternative locations, primarily Canada and Mexico in anticipation of an unfavorable anti-dumping ruling that would have added duties to the cost of imports.
However, the duties never came, but the proverbial procurement “Plan B” went into effect all the same.
Lamentations About Laminations
In January of this year, the International Trade Commission created several new HTS codes to track product movement for laminations for incorporation to stacked cores (HTS code: 8504.90.9534) and transformer parts (HTS Code: 8504.90.9546).
Imports of transformer parts continue to ratchet up as the latest trade data from Zepol shows:
Notably, Japan has taken the second-place spot in terms of dollar value of imports. We can only surmise that some domestic buyers require the more demanding GOES materials only produced by the Japanese, and the Japanese may be more comfortable shipping a semi-finished product to the US market vs. actual grain-oriented electrical steel.
Imports for laminations for stacked cores remain small in comparison.
The Actual GOES M3 Price
The M3 coil per-ton price stands at $2,721 for July. That price bump bucks every metal price trend we currently track. However, we will wait to see what happens next month. We’ll call it now – down!
The GOES MMI® collects and weights 1 global grain-oriented electrical steel price point to provide a unique view into price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the GOES MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.