US, European Scrap Prices Falling, Monthly Steel Index Flat

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With scrap metal price declines in Europe and the US being tempered by Chinese steel prices, MetalMiner’s monthly Raw Steels MMI® index value stayed at 87 in October, on par with September’s value.

With the exception of the rare earth and renewable energy metals indexes, our raw steels price index has performed the worst this year. October 2012 results suggested no improvement, as most raw materials prices comprising the index stayed flat. Though we did see some slight increases in the prices of Chinese slab and billet, US HRC and US shredded scrap came under pressure.

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Source: MetalMiner IndX℠

September licensed import volumes fell 5 percent compared to August, according to Peter Wright of Gerdau Market Update. Generally speaking, slower import volumes often indicate weaker domestic demand.

“Ironically, the weakest demand has come from export markets, particularly China and Europe, while the US market has held up fairly well,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “The three-month period from June-August of this year for construction and infrastructure spending has improved by 9.2 percent and ISM manufacturing data remains positive.”

Durable goods orders declined primarily due to the cancellation of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner by Qantas, according to Gerdau Market Update. Scrap prices have softened and steel prices in general have begun to soften.

Primary Drivers of the Steel Price Index

The 3-month price of steel billet rose 4.3 percent on the LME to $360.00 per metric ton after falling the previous month. The cash price of steel billet rose 2.9 percent on the LME to $350.00 per metric ton after falling the previous month.

After dropping the previous month, the price of Chinese slab prices rose 6.5 percent. The price of Chinese coking coal increased 1.1 percent.

After rising 15.1 percent the previous month, US shredded scrap prices dropped 6.7 percent.

After remaining essentially unchanged the previous month, the price of Korean pig iron fell 2.5 percent. Korean steel scrap prices fell 1.9 percent after rising 5.1 percent the previous month.

With a 1.8 percent decline, the US HRC futures contract 3-month price closed the month at $609.00 per short ton.

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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 over a 30-day period. 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.

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