MetalMiner Prices

Aluminum Prices

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Carbon Steel Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Carbon Steel Index and current pricing for A36 Plate, 1008 CR Sheet, and 1008 CR Coil

Nickel Alloy Prices

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Stainless Steel Prices

View quotes and charts of the North American Stainless Steel Index and current pricing for 304 2B Sheet, and 430 Sheet

Titanium Prices

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Articles on: Metal Prices

According to the International Aluminum Institute, global aluminum production totaled 5.16 million tons in September, down from 5.33 million tons in August and 5.30 million tons in September 2018.

Despite the decline in production, prices have not received a boost — in fact, the LME aluminum price per pound is hovering at around $0.78 per pound.

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Top producer China saw its production levels dip again last month.

Chinese aluminum production totaled an estimated 2.88 million tons, down from 2.97 million tons in August and 3.01 million tons in September 2018.

North American aluminum production reached 310,000 tons, down from 321,000 tons in August and flat compared with September 2018 production.

Asian production ex-China reached 363,000 tons, down from 374,000 tons in August and 364,000 tons in September 2018.

GCC production totaled 456,000 tons, down from 469,000 tons in August but up from the 437,000 tons produced in September 2018.

Production in eastern and central Europe totaled 344,000, down from 356,000 tons, but up from the 332,000 tons produced in September 2018.

Western European production totaled 276,000 tons, down from 286,000 tons in August and the 312,000 tons produced in September 2018.

In terms of prices, LME three-month aluminum is down 2.86% over the last month, down to $1,731/mt.

“LME aluminum prices weakened in September, despite looking stronger early on in the month,” MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller explained earlier this month. “Less robust manufacturing and economic indicators hurt some industrial metal prices this month, including aluminum. The stronger U.S. dollar also resulted in weaker prices.

“LME prices look close to possibly dropping below yet another critical price level, $1,700/mt, after clearly breaking the $1,800/mt support level since last month.”

Chinese aluminum prices have also been on the decline of late. SHFE primary cash aluminum recently fell to 13,960 CNY per ton, down from 14,280 CNY per ton a month ago, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

LME prices have picked up slightly in recent days, but not substantially. With Chinese production now posting monthly declines for two straight months, it remains to be seen if that supply-side activity will have a supportive impact on prices.

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So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Of course, the demand picture must also be figured into any industrial metal’s forecast. The IMF recently downgraded its 2019 global growth forecast to 3%, its lowest level since the financial crisis — an ill omen for demand of a wide range of goods, including industrial metals.

Automotive demand for aluminum — among other metals — is a large source of the metal’s overall demand. As the IMF’s World Economic Outlook released this month notes, a slowdown in No. 1 automotive market China has weighed on aluminum prices.

Referring to the period between February and August of this year, the IMF noted, “The price of aluminum fell by 6.6 percent because of overcapacity in China and weakening demand from the vehicle market there.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced rulings in investigations of stainless steel kegs from China and Germany, copper prices rose on labor tensions in Chile, and the UAW’s strike continues as it mulls ratification of a tentative deal with General Motors reached last week.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

DOC Makes Final Determinations on Stainless Steel Keg Imports

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday announced it had made affirmative final determinations in its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of imports of stainless steel kegs from China and Germany.

The DOC determined the countries sold the kegs at less than fair values, ranging from 0 to 77.13% and 7.47%, respectively.

The DOC also determined that exporters from China received countervailable subsidies at rates ranging from 16.21% to 145.23%.

Copper Rises on Chile Labor Developments

LME copper reached a one-month high amid strikes at Chilean copper mines operated by Antofagasta and Teck Resources, Reuters reported.

LME three-month copper rose as much as 0.5% Monday, Reuters reported, up to $5,837.50 per ton.

GM Awaits UAW Vote on Deal

Last week, General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced they had reached a tentative deal that could potentially end the strike that has lingered for well over a month.

However, the strike continues, for now, as UAW members must vote on the deal.

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If the deal is approved, talks will then shift to Ford and Fiat Chrysler, the Detroit Free Press reported.

A growing copper supply is not exactly what copper producers wanted to hear, as a new mine with a 100-year life span has been announced.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Prices have been depressed all year, with worries about deteriorating trade and surplus supply weighing on sentiment.

Anglo American’s $5 billion copper project at Quellaveco in Peru could potentially hold enough reserves to supply a century of production, according to company CEO Mark Cutifani, as reported by the Financial Times.

The article reports the extensive ore body has so far only been defined to a depth of 400 meters. However, with ore grades at over 1%, the mine’s economics are solid.

Further drilling will be required to map the full extent, but preliminary sampling suggests mineralization could extend to 1,000 meters, the company says.

Quellaveco is due to start production in 2022. Once it reaches full capacity, it will produce an average 330,000 tons a year of copper in its first five years; in the company’s words, it will be a license to print money, the Financial Times reported.

Two adjacent mines in the same area have been in production for more than four decades at much greater depths than Quellaveco’s current boundaries, suggesting mineralization is far more extensive than current sampling has identified.

Copper demand is widely expected to rise in the coming decade due to the electrification of cars and the expansion of renewable energy. Currently, however, the market is oversupplied, with RC/TC charges at smelters depressed and little to support prices.

A recent upturn has reversed, as Antofagasta averted a labor strike, reaching a labor agreement with the union at its Los Pelambres mine. Prices subsequently resumed their weak showing, as supply fears quickly eased.

Supply from Quellaveco will not hit the market for some years, even assuming Anglo American manages to bring its project to production on time, which is by no means certain. One of its other major projects, its iron ore mine at Minas Rio, was severely delayed and horribly over budget, for example.

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The company has performed better under Cutifani. The timing for Quellaveco to reach full production in the early to mid-part of the next decade may indeed significantly improve the firm’s prospects if, as widely expected, copper prices have recovered by then.

byrdyak/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, an upcoming MetalMiner webinar will explore the challenges manufacturers face in talent acquisition, the nickel price continues to fall after a hot summer and miner BHP released its production results for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Webinar to Explore Manufacturing ‘Skills Gap’

If you haven’t already done so, there’s still time to sign up for MetalMiner’s free Oct. 23 webinar, “The War For Contractor Talent: How Manufacturers Can Find the Workers They Need (and Fast).”

The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required.

MetalMiner Executive Editor Lisa Reisman will be joined by Matt Runfola, founder of the Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center, and Brett Armstrong, director of business development at Avetta.

Nickel Price Slides

It was a hot summer for nickel, which surged from below $12,000 per ton in June to nearly $18,500 per ton in early September, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

However, the nickel price has started to come back down to earth over the last six weeks.

The three-month LME nickel price reached $16,260/mt as of Friday, down 4.07% on a month-over-month basis.

BHP Releases 3Q 2019 Results

Miner BHP released its quarterly production results for the quarter ending Sept. 30, showing copper production fell 3% from the previous quarter due to planned maintenance.

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Meanwhile, metallurgical coal and energy coal production fell 21% and 24%, respectively.

“We delivered a solid start to the 2020 financial year through ongoing strong operational performance across our portfolio,” BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said. “While Group production for the quarter decreased slightly due to the expected impacts of planned maintenance and natural field decline in Petroleum, guidance remains unchanged and we are on track to deliver slightly higher volumes than last financial year. The South Flank iron ore project is 50 per cent complete, with all our major projects on schedule and budget. We achieved further encouraging exploration results in Petroleum and at the Oak Dam copper prospect.”

The October 2019 Monthly Metals Index (MMI) report is in the books.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

This month, just one of the Monthly Metals Indexes (MMIs) increased, while six declined and three held flat.

Some highlights from this month’s MMIs:

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nikitos77/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Rio Tinto released its third-quarter production figures, India has proposed an anti-dumping duty on flat-rolled steel from China and other countries, and copper prices dropped after a strike was averted at Chile’s Antofagasta.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Rio Tinto Posts Strong Third Quarter

Miner Rio Tinto posted third-quarter iron ore production of 87.3 million tons, marking a 6% increase on a year-over-year basis and a 10% increase compare with Q2 2019.

Bauxite production increased 9% year over year, while aluminum production fell 3%.

“We have delivered improved production across the majority of our products in the third quarter, with a solid result at our Pilbara mines driving increased sales of iron ore into robust markets,” Rio Tinto CEO J-S Jacques said. “Our strong value over volume approach, coupled with our focus on operational performance and disciplined allocation of capital, will continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders over the short, medium and long term.”

India Proposes Anti-Dumping Duty on Chinese Flat-Rolled Steel

The Indian government Tuesday proposed a new flat-rolled steel anti-dumping duty on imports from China, Vietnam and South Korea, Reuters reported.

The duty, once implemented, will be effective for six months, according to the report.

Copper Drops on Antofagasta News

After Chilean copper miner Antofagasta reached a new 36-month contract with laborers at its Los Pelambres mine, copper prices moved downward, Reuters reported.

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Three-month LME copper dipped 0.2% Wednesday to $5,764 per ton, according to the report.

The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) slipped one point for an October MMI reading of 98.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Glencore Signs Cobalt Supply Deal with China’s GEM

Mining giant Glencore has entered into a cobalt supply agreement with China’s GEM Co. Ltd. 

According to the miner, the five-year cobalt hydroxide deal calls for it to supply a minimum of 61,200 tons of cobalt between 2020 and 2024.

“GEM is very pleased to announce this long-term strategic co-operation with Glencore,” GEM Chairman Kaihua Xu said. “This agreement represents a major cornerstone in GEM’s cobalt sourcing strategy as it will support GEM’s continued contribution to the Chinese New Energy Market.

“In an ever-changing and fast evolving cobalt environment, GEM and Glencore have managed to maintain a very strong working relationship.

“By securing a key battery raw material, GEM clearly demonstrates its ability to implement and deliver its vision for an electrified, carbon-free transportation system.”

Nico Paraskevas, Glencore’s head of marketing for copper and cobalt, touted the partnership with the Chinese firm.

“The extension of our long established partnership with GEM further endorses Glencore’s important role in supplying the materials that enable the energy and mobility transition,” Paraskevas said. “Furthermore, this long term partnership provides Glencore with a stable outlet for a significant portion of its expected future Cobalt Hydroxide production.”

Earlier this year, Glencore announced a long-term cobalt supply agreement with the Brussels-based Umicore.

GOES

The GOES MMI, the index tracking grain-oriented electrical steel, fell 13 points for an October reading of 185.

The U.S. GOES price fell 6.6% month over month to $2,565/mt as of Oct. 1.

German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp, a producer of electrical steel, recently announced the mutual termination of the mandate of CEO Guido Kerkhoff, effective Oct. 1. Kerkhoff’s tenure ended after just over a year, having been appointed to the role in July 2018.

The news comes in what has been a challenging year for the German firm, which recently was relegated from the German blue-chip DAX index.

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

U.S. steel plate fell 7.7% month over month to $736/st as of Oct. 1. Chinese steel plate fell 0.6% to $573.56/mt.

Korean steel plate fell 3.5% to $548.78/mt. Japanese steel plate fell 1.4% to $798.23/mt.

Chinese silicon rose 0.3% to $1,440.89/mt.

Ricochet64/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, which included: the U.S. and E.U.’s ongoing WTO battle over Boeing and Airbus subsidies, falling steel prices, rising SUV demand, and the nationwide strike at General Motors:

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, it was a busy week for U.S. Steel, copper hit a two-week high and miner Rio Tinto signed its first portside iron ore contract in Chinese currency.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

U.S. Steel Looks to the Future

Steelmaker U.S. Steel this week announced CFO Kevin Bradley’s intention to resign effective Nov. 4.

Bradley will be succeeded by Christine Breves, the firm’s senior vice president of manufacturing support and chief supply chain officer.

“Kevin has served U. S. Steel well as CFO, contributing to the transformation of the company, including last week’s announcement of our investment in Big River Steel,” CEO and President David Burritt said. “Kevin’s leadership improved the company’s balance sheet and enabled the company’s transformation to a world competitive ‘best of both’ integrated and mini mill technology company.”

In addition, the company is rolling out a new operating model that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, in an attempt to cut costs and boost the company’s technological standing.

“The realignment of U.S. Steel’s leadership team around more nimble and efficient executive functions, notably to sharpen focus on operational and commercial excellence and promote technological innovation, will enable the company to establish a more competitive cost structure with enhanced capabilities to serve priority customers in strategic markets,” the company said.

“Additionally, this enhanced operating model will create a new, differentiated U.S. Steel with a team that is charged with leading the execution of the strategy and increasing profitability. It also will further unlock the value of U. S. Steel’s announced investments in Big River Steel and at Mon Valley Works and Gary Works to drive profitable growth, deliver capital and operational cash improvements, and position U. S. Steel to continue to be an industry leader in delivering high-quality, value-added products.”

Copper Hits Two-Week High

Whether it proves to be founded or not, optimism regarding the potential for a partial trade deal between the U.S. and China has offered support to the copper price.

Top-level negotiators from the two countries met Thursday and Friday, with some hope the countries could agree on at least some concessions.

According to Reuters, LME copper rose 0.4% to $5,805 per ton, buoyed by the optimism coming from this week’s talks.

Rio Tinto Signs Contract in Yuan

Multinational miner Rio Tinto has signed its first portside Chinese iron ore contract using Chinese Renminbi, Reuters reported.

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The contract featured the sale of 10,000 tons of mid-grade iron ore to Chinese company Shanxi Gaoyi Steel Co Ltd, according to Reuters.

Piotr Pawinski/Adobe Stock

The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI), which tracks a basket of precious metals and precious metals prices, picked up one point for an MMI reading of 107 this month.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Palladium Surges, Widens Spread with Platinum

Last month, we noted the narrowing of the platinum-palladium spread in platinum’s favor, down to $539 per ounce as of Sept. 1.

This past month, however, that narrowing proved short-lived, as the spread ballooned to $763 per ounce.

The palladium price has been a steady riser this year.

“The price has risen a third this year alone and hit $1,700/ounce this week on the back of a limited supply market facing off rising demand from tighter emission standards in China and a switch from diesel to petrol in Europe, both favoring palladium demand,” MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns explains. “This is despite a generally weak global automotive market, with production down everywhere. Think what it would be like with production at 2017-18 levels — probably over $2,000/ounce. It may still hit that next year.”

China’s massive automotive market has contracted this year.

Through the first eight months of the year, automotive production in China reached 15.93 million units, down 12.1% on a year-over-year basis, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Meanwhile, Chinese automotive sales through the first eight months were down 11% compared with the first eight months of 2018.

Meanwhile, U.S. automotive production in August reached 213,000 units, approximately flat compared with August 2018, according to Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis data.

Gold, Silver and Fed Rates

Meanwhile, in the safe-havens, market watchers should keep an eye on the Federal Reserve.

“Gold and silver are being driven more by safe-haven status and expectations the Fed will reduce rates,” Burns explained. “Lower interest rates are a boost for gold and, to a lesser extent, silver. The investment community is taking an interest in gold this year, with ETF holdings near three-year highs and heavy buying by the Chinese central bank adding almost 100 tons in the last 10 months as it seeks to diversify away for the dollar. For the time being, Fed expectations will be the prime mover for prices.”

In September, the Federal Reserve announced it would lower the range for its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, to a range of 1.75-2.0%, marking the Fed’s second cut this year.

However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the possibility of another rate cut this month, USA Today reported.

“While not everyone fully shares economic opportunities and the economy faces some risks, overall, it is — as I like to say — in a good place. Our job is to keep it there as long as possible,” Powell said in opening remarks during an event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on Oct. 9. “While we believe our strategy and tools have been and remain effective, the U.S. economy, like other advanced economies around the world, is facing some longer-term challenges — from low growth, low inflation, and low interest rates.

“While slow growth is obviously not good, you may be asking, ‘What’s wrong with low inflation and low interest rates?’ Low can be good, but when inflation — and, consequently, interest rates — are too low, the Fed and other central banks have less room to cut rates to support the economy during downturns.”

President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions this year criticized the Fed and Powell for not doing enough to cut interest rates.

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

The U.S. silver ingot price fell 5.6% month over month to $17.21/ounce as of Oct. 1.

U.S. platinum bars fell 4.4% to $875/ounce, while U.S. palladium bars rose 12.7% to $1,638/ounce.

Chinese gold bullion fell 2.9% to $47.99/gram. U.S. gold bullion dropped 3.2% to $1,478.60/ounce.