The prices of the raw materials that we track have reversed course and are now higher than they were in January with two exceptions: AMM report of stainless steel 303 bars and China Coke. Year over year, all prices are down significantly. Price swing (Δ) July 2009 compared to May and January 2009:
- Aluminum: Up 17 percent from May, up 12.3 percent from January
- Copper: Up 19 percent from May, up 64 percent from January
- Nickel: Up 27 percent from May, up 4.44 percent since January
- Steel, Busheling: Up 40 percent from May, up 18.3 percent from January
- China Coke: Up 2 percent from May, down 2.25 percent from January
In our research we found news stories indicating “hoarding” behaviors by Japanese and Taiwanese companies, indicating that price rises are expected and foreseeable globally. Based on demand, the escalation in copper prices appears to be fueled more by speculation than by industrial consumption. According to one press report there’s a complete “…disconnect between the price of the commodity (copper) and underlying demand.”
Our first glimpse of a steel surcharge for September for Electrical Steel was $170/ton; $8.50/cwt! (AK Steel website). Fasten those seatbelts!