Our Metal Price Trends series provides monthly insight into industry news and economic activity affecting global metal prices, and empowers Metal Supermarkets customers to make timely and informed decisions when purchasing metal.
In December 2014, prices increased in Aluminum, Cold Rolled Steel and Stainless while Hot Rolled Steel prices remained relatively stable for the month.
The Canadian economy closed out 2014 by losing 4,300 net jobs in December, a slight dip that left the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.6 per cent. Weak demand and a glut of supply in the commodities market continue to keep prices low, affecting Canada’s oil patch and the mining sector.
Aluminum – Prices were increased for the month of December. Global aluminum demand grew 7%. And the price of aluminum has increased 27% since February 2014. The fall in oil prices has caused the cost of coke and pitch to fall. The producing mills currently are benefiting from increased aluminum demand, higher aluminum prices, and now benefit from decreased operating costs. This situation could continue well into 2015, but the decreased energy costs could also cause car manufactures to delay or re-think their planned increased Aluminum usage in cars. With lower energy prices, analysts doubt that consumers will pay extra to purchase a vehicle with an aluminum body.
Carbon Steel – Cold Rolled steel increased while Hot Rolled Steel prices remained stable in December. U.S. Steel Canada will apply for bankruptcy protection after posting operating losses for five consecutive years (Totaling $2.4 billion). The U.S. Steel Canada division was deconsolidated from the company’s financial statements in September 2014. The exclusion of this loss-making unit will also boost the company’s margins in 2015.A robust steel demand and pricing environment is anticipated for North America in 2015.
Stainless – Prices increased in the month of December. With Asia continuing to have record slow growth there is a substantial Global surplus in stainless steelmaking capacity. Producers have supported prices by limiting their output.Global supply and demand for nickel is expected to be in balance throughout 2015.
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