Here’s the latest news about the price and availability of Aluminium and Steel, plus Copper and Zinc, the ingredients of Brass.
As you’ll see, it’s clear that the globalised economy is affecting metal prices and supply more profoundly than ever, and it is a trend that’s set to continue as the world’s economies steadily become more interdependent.
Metal prices, availability and trends – Aluminium.
Many market experts feel demand for aluminium is set to grow through 2016. Stricter CO2 emmissions targets mean some even predict double-digit growth for Aluminium Body Sheet throughout the next five years.
At the same time there are some exciting new low-emissions vehicle manufature technologies on the way, investment in which is set to boom over the next half decade. This new investment could help cut the cost of the metal further, narrowing the gap between it and high strength steel even more.
Demand for aluminium automotive body sheet is already growing rapidly and has been doing so for the past two years, triggered by changing emissions targets. At the same time the trend for using more ABS has driven plenty of fresh investment in output and automotive capacity.
Metal prices, availability and trends – Steel.
The gloom continues as the global price of steel, and demand for it, keeps on sliding. It’s happening even though there’s a growing demand driven by investment in Chinese infrastructure and rugged underlying demand in the US and Europe. Despite this, oversupply is still the name of the game.
Right now the price of steel is remarkably low, and the strong underlying demand isn’t feeding through to local producers. As a result they’ve started announcing closures.
Add ongoing uncertainty about the global economy and the point we sit at, at the end of the commodity cycle, and demand is almost universally down. The weakening Chinese economy doesn’t help, making markets jittery, and it’s affecting both the non-residential construction sector and manufacturing industries.
Experts predict the weakness of the steel market will affect Asia and other commodity exporting regions in particular, since they rely more than most nations on continuing economic growth in China.
Metal prices, availability and trends – Brass.
Brass is made from an alloy of copper and zinc. Zinc is brilliant at improving the life and performance of steel, and it’s highly effective – and cost effective – when used to protect steel against corrosion. The global market for zinc is currently growing steadily, and experts expect more of the same over the next few years.
The growth in the market comes from industrialised countries, who want to build bigger and more resilient structures, harnessing galvanized steel or coating structures with zinc. The metal is also ideal for the dry cell batteries found in hearing aids, watches, calculators and a host of innovative military and aeronautical applications.
The worldwide zinc mining industry is expected to grow and grow, with China currently the biggest miner of the metal. On the other hand China’s famously dreadful air pollution problems may suppress zinc mining in its current guise, until a solution can be found.
How about copper, the other metal used to make brass? Some say the deep decline in copper prices we’ve seen over the past few years is due to reverse, others say it’s set to continue.
Looking at the last 115 years of copper mining stats, Mary Poulton, the Director of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, says copper prices tend to nosedive for around 2.4 consecutive years before rising again, then rise for a couple of years before falling back again.
On the other hand a mining economist from the Colorado School of Mines says he isn’t optimistic, and his feelings are supported by a pessimistic report by investment bankers Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Add investors Morgan Stanley Investment Management to the list of nay-sayers and the outlook for copper doesn’t look so good.
China consumes as much as 45% of the planet’s copper, and some say the slowing of its economy hints at worse to come for an already beleaguered copper market. On the other hand reports in early 2016 hint that copper and brass prices seem to be edging up with a small boost in demand.
It’s a currency thing
Demand and supply are one thing. Fluctuating exchange rates are another, and right now they’re not helping. Exchange rate fluctuations account for prices on anything purchased abroad increasing by 9% since mid December 2015.
More about the impact of fluctuating exchange rates on metal prices next time…
Come back next time for another metal supplies and pricing run-down from Metalex, your premium metal suppliers.
Metal Prices Image Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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