Renewables MMI: Plate Prices Fall, Glencore Enters Cobalt Supply Agreement

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) ticked up one point this month, rising to a June MMI value of 102.

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Glencore, Umicore Reach Cobalt Supply Agreement

As we reported last month, miner Glencore reached an agreement with Umicore in which it would supply the latter with cobalt from its operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Umicore is a global materials technology and recycling group based in Brussels.

“Umicore has assessed each operation as fully compliant with its sustainable procurement framework for cobalt which excludes artisanally mined cobalt from its supply chain, as well as any form of child labor,” Glencore said in a prepared statement. “The cobalt units will be shipped to Umicore’s cobalt refineries globally, including the Kokkola refinery in Finland once the ongoing acquisition process is complete.”

The agreement comes on the heels of a May 23 announcement by Umicore that it had moved to acquire Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Kokkola, Finland.

Plate Prices Fall

As MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller noted in the Raw Steels MMI report, plate prices last month joined other forms of steel (HRC, CRC and HDG) in their overall downward trend.

“Even plate prices dropped this month after stubbornly sticking at around $1,000/st for a lengthy stretch after rising longer term,” she wrote. “This month the price dropped by nearly 7%, from $962/st at the start of the month to $902/st in early June.”

Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES)

The GOES MMI dropped three points this month, down to a June reading of 172.

The GOES price fell 1.8% month over month to $2,368/mt as of June 1.

In other GOES news, the TEX Report reported Japanese mills are entering negotiations regarding 2H 2019 shipments of grain-oriented electrical steel sheet to the U.S. and Europe. In addition, TEX Report said China’s Baosteel raised its price for domestic grain-oriented electrical steel sheet, adding Beijing’s stimulus measures could lead to increased demand for grain-oriented electrical steel sheet in power grid improvements.

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

Japanese steel plate was the lone steel plate price point in the subindex to rise this past month, moving up 3.1% month over month to $796.05/mt as of June 1.

Korean steel plate fell 1.2% to $589.79/mt, while Chinese steel plate dropped 3.8% to $625.55/mt.

U.S. steel plate fell 6.2% to $902/st.

Chinese cobalt cathodes dropped 2.4% to $96,294.50/mt.

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