The prices of the raw materials that we track are lower from our last report in January 2009, excepting copper, brass, and coke. Year over year, all prices are down significantly.
Price swing (Δ) from January 2009 to March 2009:
Aluminum: Down 11.1 percent price variation (Δ).
Copper: Up 17.65 percent same time frame.
Nickel: Unchanged same period.
Steel: Down 13.73 percent in the same two-month period.
China Coke: Up 5.78 percent.
These materials should be leading indicators of a recovery in manufacturing, since inventories are low and you can’t make products without materials. These low prices (except for copper) do not seem to foreshadow increased demand for the short term.
PMPA’s just published 2009 Business Forecast Report made it very clear that our business is driven by the forces revealed in just a couple of indicators--Housing Starts and Total Vehicles Assembled--and is led by the price of scrap, and that our markets have changed.