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The cash price of steel billet experienced the biggest price decline of the day, dropping 2.2 percent on the LME to close at $220.00 per metric ton on March 7, 2013. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of steel billet rose 2.1 percent to $240.00 per metric ton.

Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.05) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.45) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC remained essentially flat at CNY 4,050 ($651.15) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal saw little movement at CNY 1,790 ($287.79) per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 0.8 percent to $612.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price saw little price change on Thursday at $635.00 per short ton.

Following a 3.2 percent decline to CNY 11,625 ($1,869) per metric ton, Chinese aluminum scrap finished as the week’s biggest mover on the weekly Aluminum MMI®. Following a steady week, prices for the Chinese aluminum cash price closed flat at CNY 14,480 ($2,328) per metric ton. At CNY 14,050 ($2,259) per metric ton, the price of Chinese aluminum bar did not change since the previous week. Chinese aluminum billet remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 14,400 ($2,315) per metric ton.

The 3-month price of aluminum fell 2.4 percent last week on the LME, settling at $1,969 per metric ton. The cash price of primary aluminum fell 2.2 percent on the LME for the week to settle at $1,927 per metric ton. Following a 0.8 percent drop, the cash price of primary Indian aluminum finished the week at INR 104.55 ($1.91) per kilogram.

The price of European 1050 aluminum increased by a slight 1.5 percent over the past week to EUR 2,215 ($2,875) per metric ton. The price of European 5083 plate declined 1.1 percent over the past week, settling at EUR 2,624 ($3,406) per metric ton. At KRW 4,210 ($3.88) per kilogram, the week finished with no movement for Korean 3003 coil premium over 1050 sheet. Closing at KRW 4,360 ($4.02) per kilogram, Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet remained unchanged for the week.

The Aluminum MMI® collects and weights 12 global aluminum price points to provide a unique view into aluminum price trends. For more information on the Aluminum MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

On March 7, 2013, the day’s biggest mover was the price of Chinese copper wire, which saw a 0.7 percent decline to CNY 56,245 ($9,043) per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper bar changed direction with a 0.6 percent drop. After two days of improving prices, the metal finished at CNY 57,180 ($9,193) per metric ton. The cash price of Chinese copper closed at CNY 57,380 ($9,226) per metric ton. Following a couple days of improvement, prices fell by 0.6 percent. At CNY 46,730 ($7,513) per metric ton, Chinese bright copper scrap fell 0.6 percent yesterday.

The price of US copper producer grade 122 fell 0.5 percent to $4.11 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 declined 0.5 percent to $4.11 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 weakened by 0.5 percent, settling at $4.30 per pound. The Japanese copper cash price saw little movement at JPY 640,000 ($6,813) per metric ton.

The cash price of primary copper saw a 0.3 percent decline on the LME to $7,699 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of copper declined 0.1 percent to $7,733 per metric ton.

On March 7, 2013, Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap jumped up 0.6 percent, landing at CNY 16,200 ($2,605) per metric ton and making it the day’s biggest increase. After two flat days, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap inched up 0.6 percent on Thursday to CNY 17,700 ($2,846). The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil finished the day at CNY 17,700 ($2,846) per metric ton following a 0.6 percent increase. After two changeless days, the price of Chinese primary nickel fell 0.2 percent to CNY 117,500 ($18,892) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,500 ($4,261) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw little movement at CNY 8,300 ($1,334) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,313) per metric ton.

On the LME, the spot price of nickel increased 0.4 percent to $16,570 per metric ton. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel rose 0.3 percent to $16,625 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price fell 0.3 percent to INR 903.90 ($16.52) per kilogram.

Chinese aluminum scrap saw the biggest price decline of the day, dropping 1.4 percent to close at CNY 11,625 ($1,869) per metric ton on March 7, 2013. After a 0.4 percent increase, the cash price of Chinese aluminum finished the day at CNY 14,480 ($2,328) per metric ton. Chinese aluminum billet prices rose 0.3 percent to CNY 14,400 ($2,315) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum bar continues hovering around CNY 14,050 ($2,259) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

The cash price of primary Indian aluminum weakened by 0.9 percent, settling at INR 104.55 ($1.91) per kilogram. After improving for two days, the cash price of primary aluminum declined 0.8 percent on the LME to $1,927 per metric ton. The 3-month price of aluminum closed at $1,969 per metric ton. Following a couple days of improvement, the metal’s price weakened by 0.8 percent on the LME.

The monthly Construction MMI® registered a value of 92 in March, on par with February’s value. Drops in US shredded scrap and aluminum prices tempered ferrous price increases, resulting in a holding pattern for our construction metals index.

Single-family housing starts, home prices, and the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) are all continuing to climb as we head into the latter part of Q1 2013. Seems like commodity prices used in those sectors are lagging those positive indicators just a bit.

“A strong housing sector will help to drive the U.S. economy forward in 2013, but there are still obstacles to be overcome, most of them artificially created in Washington,” wrote Alex Carrick, the chief economist on the Canadian side for our friends over at Reed Construction Data.

We mentioned those ‘artificial obstacles’ in our Raw Steels MMI® earlier this week – the current mess the US government has on its hands called “sequestration.” Spending cuts and effective tax increases may affect the construction sector down the line, but to what degree is not yet certain. As Bernie Markstein, Reed’s US chief economist, put it, “there is already a disruption to contracts and spending (note the cutback in defense spending at the end of last year).”

January figures for US construction spending were off slightly from December’s figures, but the $883.3 billion seasonally adjusted annual rate of spending was still 7.1 percent higher than the same time last year.

Construction industry contractors and equipment distributors remain confident about future growth, according to a recent construction outlook survey by Wells Fargo. The industry expects the residential sector to lead the way and rental fleets to grow; and roughly 80 percent of the contractors surveyed responded that they intend to buy new and/or used equipment in 2013, indicating optimism.

Primary Price Drivers of the Construction Index

The price of Chinese H-beam steel jumped 6.0 percent last month to $626.66 per metric ton. Chinese rebar prices increased 2.7% to $615.42 per metric ton last month. European 1050 aluminum saw its price rise 1.5 percent to $2,887 per metric ton. The Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines grew 0.4 percent to finish at $183.18 per dry metric ton.

The price of US shredded scrap fell 3.9 percent to $374.00 per short ton.

Chinese aluminum bar traded sideways last month, staying around $2,258 per metric ton.

The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

Despite precipitous falls in several constituent price points – lanthanum oxide, cerium oxide and neodymium among them – the monthly Rare Earths MMI® held steady over the past month for a March reading of 43, on par with February’s value.

This comes after two straight months of declines for the index, and it, along with our Renewables MMI, shares the dubious distinction of spending its entire existence under the Jan. 2012 baseline of 100.

The majority of the price points in the complex held steady over the past month. But nothing has really changed to skew our existing outlook for this minor metals market.

As we reported on last month’s rare earths index, the trouble for downstream demand of rare earth metals, minerals and oxides is far from over. Industry sources report that China demand for rare earths for the balance of 2013 is likely to remain sluggish, mainly because downstream end-use sectors are not holding up their end, according to metal-pages.com.

Certainly not helping the demand situation is more supply coming on stream. Lynas Corp. reported in a Feb. 27 company statement that the company has finally produced rare earths for customers, including a handy dandy flowchart of its process. Of course, it’ll take a bit to scale this operation, but the fundamental reality of future supply increases portend a depressed rare earths market as far as prices may be concerned over the next few years.

“We are watching the rare earth metal price index very closely because we believe a price floor has finally formed,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “Now whether that means prices will begin ticking up remains to be seen, but we have struggled to see a floor.”

Primary Price Drivers of Rare Earths Index

After remaining essentially unchanged the previous month, the price of lanthanum oxide fell 22.8 percent to $6,267 per metric ton. The price of cerium oxide dropped 17.0 percent to $6,668 per metric ton. Rare earth carbonate prices dropped by 15.4 percent this month to $4,419 per metric ton. The price of neodymium fell 6.6 percent to $68,290 per metric ton. The price of dysprosium oxide fell 2.4 percent over the past month to $325.38 per kilogram, the second straight month of declines.

The price of yttrium held flat over the past month at $64.27 per kilogram. Prices for terbium oxide remained constant this past month, holding at around $626.66 per kilogram. Yttria held pat last month at $18,880 per metric ton. The price of terbium metal remained steady over the past month at $1,261 per kilogram. Praseodymium neodymium oxide traded sideways last month, staying around $50,213 per metric ton. Europium oxide experienced a flat month, staying around $948.03 per kilogram. The price of samarium oxide held flat over the past month at $8,436 per metric ton. At a price of $60,256 per metric ton, praseodymium oxide did not budge the entire month. Neodymium oxide held pat last month at $60,256 per metric ton.

The Rare Earths MMI® collects and weights 14 global rare earth metal price points to provide a unique view into rare earth metal price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Rare Earths MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the 3-month price of steel billet, which saw a 11.3 percent decline on the LME to $235.00 per metric ton. At $225.00 per metric ton, the cash price of steel billet finished the week down 8.2 percent on the LME.

Chinese steel prices were mixed for the week. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.95) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.35) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC fell 1.7 percent over the past week to CNY 4,050 ($650.66) per metric ton. Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 1,790 ($287.58) per metric ton. After a 1.3 percent decline, Chinese slab closed out the week at CNY 3,920 ($629.78) per metric ton.

The spot price of the US HRC futures contract rose 1.1 percent to $617.00 per short ton after falling 0.2 percent during the previous week. Since last week, the price of the 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract fell to $635.00 per short ton after moving 0.5 percent. Closing at $375.00 per short ton for the week, US shredded scrap rose by a slight 0.3 percent.

Korean steel prices were mixed for the week. The price of Korean steel scrap rose 2.8 percent over the past week to KRW 370,000 ($340.35) per metric ton. This was the third week in a row of increasing prices. Korean pig iron traded sideways last week, hovering around KRW 635,000 ($587.64) per metric ton.

The Raw Steels MMI® collects and weights 13 global steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into global steel price trends. For more information on the Raw Steels MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

The cash price of primary aluminum saw the biggest increase at 0.9 percent on the LME, finishing at $1,943 per metric ton for March 6, 2013. Following a couple days of improvement, the cash price of primary Indian aluminum weakened by 0.7 percent. Prices closed at INR 105.45 ($1.92) per kilogram. On the LME, the 3-month price of aluminum increased 0.6 percent to $1,984 per metric ton.

Chinese aluminum prices were mixed for the day. After a 0.7 percent increase, Chinese aluminum billet finished the day at CNY 14,350 ($2,305) per metric ton. At CNY 14,420 ($2,317), the Chinese aluminum cash price finished the market day up 0.5 percent per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap held steady at CNY 11,785 ($1,893) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum bar continues hovering around CNY 14,050 ($2,257) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

The Indian nickel cash price saw a 0.5 percent increase on March 6, 2013, reaching INR 906.60 ($16.50) per kilogram and making it the biggest mover for the day. The spot price of nickel saw a 0.2 percent decline on the LME to $16,505 per metric ton. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price fell 0.2 percent to $16,570 per metric ton.

Chinese stainless steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,333) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,295) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 26,500 ($4,257) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held steady at CNY 17,600 ($2,828) per metric ton. Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap stayed flat at around CNY 16,100 ($2,587) per metric ton. At CNY 17,600 ($2,828) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was essentially unchanged. The price of Chinese primary nickel saw little movement yesterday, closing out around CNY 117,700 ($18,909) per metric ton.

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