Industrial Insight

February 2017 Chemical Activity Barometer

February 21, 2017
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Copper prices show continued increases

February 21, 2017
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Oil prices remain higher and flat

February 21, 2017
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Steel production continues to show strong upward trend

February 21, 2017
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Raw steel

February 14, 2017
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Raw Steels MMI Jumps 8%, US Demand Pushed by InfraTrumpture

by Raul de Frutos on FEBRUARY 7, 2017
Style:Market AnalysisCategory:Anti-Dumping, Commodities, Ferro Alloys, Ferrous Metals, Global Trade, Metal Prices, MetalMiner IndX, Premium, Public Policy

Our Raw Steels MMI rose 8% in January. Flat products achieved or came close to multiyear highs across the sub-index. In this post we will lay out some of the factors driving this price rally. A rally that we predicted three months ago.

Rising International Steel Spreads

In late January, President Donald Trump took executive action to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. This will significantly increase U.S. steel demand from the energy sector.

The new president also issued another executive order that required them, and all pipeline projects, to use only American-made steel. There is no language in Trump’s memo that indicates any waivers for American-made steel would exist for trade-agreement countries. If this policy is adopted, for at least the next four years even by only the executive branch, it is, by far, the most stringent definition of “American-made” we have seen in federal steel procurement.


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Stainless

February 14, 2017
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Stainless MMI Down… But Poised to Turn Up

by Raul de Frutos on FEBRUARY 9, 2017
Style:Market AnalysisCategory:Commodities, Ferro Alloys, Ferrous Metals, Metal Prices, MetalMiner IndX,Premium

Our Stainless MMI inched lower in January but it’s already working higher in February as nickel prices rebound.

That Other Ban

In mid-January, Indonesia issued significant new mining rules that will relax its ban on exports of raw nickel ore.

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The revisions to the earlier regulation will allow miners to only export low-grade ore (defined as metal content of 1.7% or less) as long as they express a commitment to build their own smelters within five years and are able to supply domestic smelters with enough low-grade ore to meet at least 30% of the country’s input capacity.

Stainless MMI

This distinction between low-grade and high-grade ore (1.7% or more metal content) is important. Lower-grade ore increases the cost base for Chinese nickel pig-iron. In addition, NPI and ferronickel are more energy intensive than the higher grade refined nickel. Therefore, the greater use of lower grade nickel leads to more pollution, an issue that China is currently tackling.

According to Indonesia’s mining minister, Indonesia produces 17 million metric tons of nickel ore per year, of which 10 mmt is low-grade. The country’s nickel smelting capacity is currently 16 mmt and may reach 18 mmt this year.


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Copper

February 14, 2017
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Copper Prices, MMI Up As Supply Disruptions Bring Upside Potential

by Raul de Frutos on FEBRUARY 7, 2017
Style:Market AnalysisCategory:Commodities, Metal Prices, MetalMiner IndX, Non-Ferrous Metals, Premium

Copper prices rebounded to a 6% increase in January. The combination of a falling dollar and a potential work stoppage at the world’s largest copper mine lifted prices to test the psychological level of $6,000 per metric ton.

Base metals looked more bullish in January and strong Chinese data is no doubt driving that. China’s PMI was in growth territory for the seventh consecutive month. Here in the U.S., President Donald Trump signed executive orders to continue progress on two key energy pipelines, making good on his campaign pledge to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.The new president also broke with protocol and expressed a desire for a weaker dollar.


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Copper prices rising

February 14, 2017
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Oil prices steady

February 14, 2017
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Steel production continues to show growth

February 14, 2017
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