China Lead Price Rises, But Monthly Automotive MMI® Flat: Seeing a Pattern Here Yet?

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The monthly Automotive MMI® registered a value of 97 in August, on par with July’s value.


Automotive was one of the many industry sectors that stayed flat as the metals markets behind the sector didn’t move much as summer begins to wind down. Automotive was particularly affected, as automakers have not yet taken delivery of materials for 2015 models, which usually come out in late October or early November, yet are no longer ordering new materials for the 2014 versions of those same cars, trucks and SUVs.

See why our Auto MMI® is a leading indicator: download last month’s Monthly MMI® Report.

Forbes also warned that financial constraints and economic pessimism are hindering automotive sales to Generation X and millennial buyers, a trend that’s being felt up the supply chain, from OEMs to materials suppliers. Though seemingly robust, new-vehicle sales continue to be depressed by a lack of full-time jobs for adults, Yen Chen, senior economist at the Center for Automotive Research, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based outfit, said at an industry briefing in Traverse City, Mich. “That’s the reason we [haven’t had] very strong growth since the end of the recession,” he said.

Consumers aged 25 to 34, basically the older end of Generation Y, have been declining as a share of the US full-time work force even as older workers retire. Internationally, China’s middle class continues to grow and its auto industry with it. Last year, Chinese consumers bought 22.1 million new passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks and vans, compared to the 15.6 million bought in the U.S.

Key Metal Price Drivers of the Auto Index

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The Chinese lead price rose 6.1 percent over the past month to $2,401 per metric ton, the second straight month of gains. The price of US palladium bar rose 3.6 percent over the past month to $870.00 per ounce. On the LME, the 3-month price of copper rose a slight 2.7 percent over the past month to $7,120 per metric ton. After a 2.6 percent increase on the LME, the primary copper cash price finished the month at $7,135 per metric ton.

After rising the previous month, US platinum bar prices dropped 1.8 percent to $1,456 per ounce. At $765.00 per short ton, US HDG was down 0.9 percent for the month.

At a price of $3.77 per kilogram, Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet did not budge the entire month.

The Automotive MMI® collects and weights 7 metal price points used in automotive production to provide a unique view into automotive metal trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Automotive 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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