Foodservice Equipment Reports

Most Metals Prices Continue To Soften

Prices for most steels and aluminum softened moderately through June and early July and appear to be on a trend for further decreases in the months ahead. But prices for nickel and copper bottomed out in late spring and have been rising since that time.

Responding to earlier declines in nickel prices, surcharges for 304 stainless steel and other high-nickel grades declined slightly in June and are forecast to be down again in July and August, according to O’Neal Steel. The outlook was published in Prime Advantage’s Prime Times e-newsletter in late June.

Average 304 prices declined to $4,311 a ton in June, from $4,411 in May according to the MEPs Int’l. Stainless Steel Price Index for North America.

Carbon steel prices have also fallen, O’Neal and MEPs report. The MEPs Int’l. index for all carbon grades in North America fell to $945 a ton in June from $979 in May and $1,015 in April.

Nickel prices dropped below $10 lb. in late May, but have been on the rise since, closing last Friday, July 15, at close to $11 lb. Copper prices have followed a similar path. They were running under $4 lb. in late spring, but have shot up through June and July, closing at nearly $4.40 lb. last Friday.

The longer-term outlook is a bit unclear. Industrial production worldwide has hit a bit of slow patch, which has reduced anticipated demand for most industrial metals. But many economists believe the pause is temporary and expect demand to begin increasing again soon.

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