Seven out of 10 MMIs posted increases this month. The Renewables MMI was the star of the month, as skyrocketing cobalt and steel plate prices helped push the sub-index up 21 points for a reading of 100.
The Copper and GOES MMIs were the only ones to drop, and even those only lost a point apiece. The Construction MMI held at 94 for the second straight month.
This week, President Trump has met with lawmakers to discuss potential tariffs or quotas on aluminum and steel imports, stemming from the administration’s Section 232 investigations launched last April. The president has a statutory 90-day deadline as of the receipt of the Section 232 reports from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, meaning Trump has to make decisions on the cases by mid-late April. As we’ve mentioned numerous times before, those decisions could have massive ramifications for the metals industry, up and down the value chain.
Another trend to monitor? After a roaring run to close 2017, metals like copper and aluminum retraced. The LME aluminum price, for example, dropped 2.8% last month. Copper, meanwhile, has dipped back below the $7,000 per ton mark. LME copper has shown some life early this week, picking up to $6,907/ton as of Feb. 13, but it remains to be seen whether these metals will continue to move upward or if they are due for a period of sideways or downward trading.
You can read about all of the aforementioned — and much more — by downloading the February MMI report below.