Articles in Category: Best of MetalMiner

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Not to be outdone by steel and aluminum, we also decided to take a look back at the year that was for copper, the metal often referred to as “Dr. Copper” for its ability to serve as an indicator of economic health.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

So, before we turn over to 2018, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest, most interesting copper stories here on MetalMiner this year:

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Aluminum featured heavily in our top 10 most-viewed posts of 2017 — but there were plenty of other aluminum articles of note here on MetalMiner.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Here is an additional sampling of some of our writings on aluminum here throughout the year:

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

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Steel featured heavily in our top 10 most-viewed posts of 2017 — but there were plenty of other steel articles of note here on MetalMiner.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Here is an additional sampling of some of our writings on steel here throughout the year:

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

The year is coming to a close, which means it’s a perfect time to look back before saying goodbye to 2017.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

So, before we turn the calendar over to 2018, let’s take a look back at the top 10 most-viewed stories here on MetalMiner:

  1. 3 Reasons Why Aluminum Prices Will Rise in 2017.” This January post proved to be popular for MetalMiner readers and aluminum watchers (and indeed, it has been a big year for the metal).

  2. Steel Prices: Cold-Rolled Coil Hits a 5-Year High, Will They Continue to Rise?” This March post on CRC also proved to have some serious longevity.

  3. “2017 Steel Market Outlook: Strong Demand for Flat Products Expected.” Surprise, surprise — early-year outlooks, especially about steel, were popular among readers.

  4. “The Land Rover Defender Will Rise From the Ashes… With an Aluminum Frame.” Everybody loves a good automotive product update — especially when it has to do with aluminum in automobiles.

  5. Section 232 Potential Outcomes, Impact Becoming More Clear.” Section 232 mania was in full swing this summer, as many expected a decision from the Trump administration at the end of June — one which never came, of course. The Section 232 steel deadline approaches on Jan. 15, 2018.

  6. How Far Can Steel Price Spreads, US Steel Prices Rise in 2017?” Everyone wants to know the price of steel.

  7. Why Most Analysts’ 2017 Copper Price Forecasts are Wrong.” An early look at copper price projections proved to be a popular post.

  8. Copper Price Forecast, July 2017: Strikes to Increase Global Deficit.” Sticking with the copper theme, this July post touching on the looming specter of strikes was another frequently viewed post on MetalMiner.

  9. Steel Prices Could Surge in 2017 as China Tackles Pollution.” You couldn’t go long in 2017 without reading something about China, capacity cuts and pollution.

  10. Zinc Price Forecast, May 2017: Demand, Supply Trending Up.” Readers were also interested in the price of zinc.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook


MetalMiner’s Monthly Buying Outlook
report for December is now available!

Sharpen your sourcing strategies for buying aluminum, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, tin and multiple forms of steel, complete with our coverage of drivers, market commentary, polished charts and more.

If you’re a metals buyer in North America, this is the ideal report for you.

The report provides short- and medium-term industrial buying strategies for the rest of the metals that you buy, helping you avoid unnecessary spending.

This month, you’ll also learn:

  • Repercussions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The House of Representatives passed the bill in November, and the Senate followed suit on December 2. The legislation could have a big effect on the steel and manufacturing industries.
  • What was behind the recent skid of the DBB industrial metals index
  • Why the U.S. dollar’s downtrend remains stronger than the recent two-month uptrend, and why buying organizations should expect even more movement
  • Why steel prices failed to breach resistance levels in November

Individuals, small- and mid-sized manufacturers are encouraged to subscribe to our annual buying outlook. You can sign up at any time and receive the next 12 monthly reports emailed directly to you. Learn more and subscribe today!

Have you set your 2018 metals budget?

Make sure your purchasing strategy is sound with MetalMiner’s free 2018 Annual Metals Outlook!

Arriving just in time for budgeting season, this report contains the unique insight, analysis and tools you need as a metal buyer or manufacturer to know when and how to make the buying decision – including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

This free, downloadable PDF is one of MetalMiner’s most valuable pieces of content and includes coverage of commodities markets, industrial metals markets and key price drivers for aluminum, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, tin and steel (HRC, CRC, HDG, Plate).

By understanding these price drivers, you can pinpoint exact price levels and make the appropriate changes to your sourcing strategy for that particular metal. You will be also be able to react when the market gives clear signs that a new trend is developing, and stay hedged as long as that trend lasts.

The Annual Outlook Report continues to examine three variables which have underpinned metal markets for the past two years:

  • Demand from China (and China’s overall economic outlook)
  • The strength of the U.S. Dollar
  • Oil prices and trends

While the 2018 Annual Metals Outlook report is free of charge, we do recommend you pair it with a subscription to our Monthly Metal Buying Outlook report in order to get the most valuable, up-to-date information and analysis of market conditions.

Download your report today!

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It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already more than halfway in the books. As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let’s take a brief look back at the top five most-viewed stories here at MetalMiner from January through June.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Top 5 Stories of the First Half of 2017

  1. 3 Reasons Why Steel Prices Will Rise Well Into 2017. This piece was a hit with readers, raking in the most page views of any story through the first six months of this year. With the steel industry awaiting the Trump administration’s Section 232 verdict, prices are in a bit of a holding pattern (for now).

  2. The Land Rover Defender Will Rise From the Ashes… With an Aluminum Frame. Stuart Burns’ piece on the Land Rover Defender revved up interested with readers.

  3. Military Grade Aluminum? The Ford F-150 Debate Continues. What exactly does the term “military-grade” mean in the context of automobiles? This post from the tail end of 2016 continued to draw reader interest well into 2017.

  4. 2017 Steel Market Outlook: Strong Demand for Flat Products Expected. Everybody wants to know: What’s the deal with steel? After Donald Trump’s presidential election, many in the steel industry expected a boost accompanying a proposed uptick in infrastructure projects. Of course, much has happened since this post went live in early January — namely, the Trump administration’s announcement of an investigation into steel imports, using Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act.

  5. 3 Reasons Why Aluminum Prices Will Rise in 2017. While steel has been the subject of much of the metal industry’s focus this year, aluminum is also being investigated under Section 232.  This post from January predicting a rise in aluminum prices was a popular one with readers.

    Free Download: The June 2017 MMI Report

metal-buying-risky-business-metal-minerLast week, Lisa Reisman (CEO, Azul Partners; Executive Editor, MetalMiner) sat down with Ron Wilson (CPO, Wilbur Curtis) and Bill DeMartino (General Manager, North American Operations, riskmethods) to discuss how metal-buying organizations are staying smart on risk. It made for a engaging conversation around risk management processes and strategy, and provided manufacturers of all sizes with a comprehensive risk management go-forward plan.

Although the live event experienced some unforeseen technical difficulties, MetalMiner is pleased to present the clean recording of Reisman’s discussion with Wilson and DeMartino. You can view the presentation by clicking the link below:

Before we head into the weekend, let’s revisit some of the stories and analysis here at MetalMiner this week.

Moody’s Downgrade of China: Something to Worry About?

Earlier this week, our Stuart Burns wrote about credit rating agency Moody’s and its downgrade of China’s credit status by one level (from Aa3 to A1). Credit downgrades are handed down all the time — but what do they mean, exactly? And, specifically, what does it mean for the Chinese economy and its growth?

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Read more

This is the second of a three-part series on MetalMiner Benchmark. Here’s part one if you missed it.

If data is the new natural resource in business, then when examining the landscape of third-party metal price tools, indexes and services, it’s safe to say that most of them fall into one of three categories:

  1. They report out the exchange-traded metal (meaning the metal that is traded on a formal exchange, typically a raw material form of the metal)
  2. Some report alloying elements and minor metals — important for mills and producers but less relevant to OEMs and most metal buying organizations
  3. They report out only a parameter or two such as alloy and form, e.g. cold-rolled coil (and typically a geography) but don’t get more specific than that

Our own MetalMiner IndX(SM), which we are no longer actively marketing, reports out most of the above and in some cases, by multiple geographies. Helpful? Sure, but limited in a number of key respects.

Limitations of Current Metal Price Indexes

Based on our own analysis and analyses conducted by our readers and shared with us, the three primary limitations of current metal price indexes (including our own) are as follows:

  1. They aren’t correlated enough with the metal prices buying organizations actually pay. The London Metal Exchange three-month aluminum price plus the Midwest premium certainly goes a long way in helping buying organizations understand the general aluminum price trend, but that still leaves some portion of the price a company actually pays out of the equation.

For example, the 3003 H14 .020 x 48” x 120” sheet that a company actually buys from a service center includes more than what current indexes supply:

  • LME three-month aluminum price + MW premium + Conversion Premium + margin + delivery to the customer.

CRU Group publishes a weekly CRC, HRC, HDG and Plate price for several geographies in the midwest but that CRC price is still not the same price as the price for 100,000 pounds of 1011 12 gauge x 48” coil.

  1. In some cases, other metal price indexes have the form, alloy and grade-level data (see stainless prices from MetalBulletin). American Metal Market also publishes form/alloy/grade data but it may not include specific sizes, quantity breaks or price differences based on those parameters. In addition, some of these may only be updated monthly.
  1. Current price indexes are all one-sided — They go from the publication out to the reader/user. There is no two-way method of giving your data and getting something back that allows you to compare your purchase price against others in your industry.

Benchmarking is always free with self-service!

Why Form/Alloy/Grade/Size Matter

By providing a means to identify the market price at the granular level of form/alloy/grade/size, buying organizations can now effectively compare the actual industrial prices paid against peers as well as the market as a whole. This capability also allows buying organizations to identify alternative suppliers, pinpoint specific SKUs and areas of opportunity, and strengthen existing supplier relationships.

It’s clear that, indeed, “data is the “new” natural resource in business. In our next post we’ll cover how buying organizations can use these types of resources to lower their average cost.

Click here to see a sample enterprise benchmark report.