The prices of the raw materials that we track are down since January, with the exception of copper and brass, which is up 40 percent since January. Year over year, all prices are down significantly. Price swing (Δ) from January 2009 to May 2009:
Aluminum: Down 4.41percent price variation (Δ)
Copper: Up 40.52 percent same time frame.
Nickel: down 17.78 percent
Steel: Down 15.69 percent in the same period
China Coke: down 4.02 percent
Perhaps there is one lesson to be learned in these figures: Demand for products is the primary determinant of raw material prices for manufacturers, not supply!
1) While the increase in prices for copper and brass are immediate in their effect on our bottom line, they also may be indicating a recovery in the broader economy as copper is so well integrated into our lifestyle.
2) The Labor Department reported that the economy lost only 345,000 jobs in May. This is down from 504,000 in April, and 2.1 million for the prior three months. This slowing pace of job loss may be our best indicator that the
bottom is near. (More at the end of this report.)