Foodservice Equipment Reports

Prices Of Stainless And Aluminum Remain Elevated Despite Recent Slides

Prices of stainless steel and aluminum, two metals commonly used in foodservice equipment and supplies, have risen sharply during the past 12 months. Despite drops in prices for both commodities in September and October, prices remain elevated overall. At the same time, prices for other metals, such as copper and carbon steels, have fallen, driven lower, in part, by the run-up in the value of the U.S. dollar.

The price of 301 stainless is more than 25% higher than this time last year, according to research and survey data from MetalMiner and MEPS Int’l., despite a nearly 6% drop in prices in October. The culprits are run-ups in nickel and chrome prices, two essential components of the alloy. Still, MetalMiner expects nickel and stainless prices to rebound after traders take some profits. Aluminum prices are off 4.1% this month, according to Kloeckner Metals, following a strong run-up earlier this year. Here again, MetalMiner is cautioning against assumptions that aluminum prices will continue to fall.

The higher costs of these key metals likely will prompt equipment and supplies manufacturers to be more aggressive with price increases in the coming months. After more than five years of very modest increases, manufacturers have begun to seek higher prices. According to data from AutoQuotes Inc., the average list-price increase for the more than 450,000 items from 500 manufacturers in the AQ database was 3.1% for the 12 months ended June 30. That increase was a full point higher than the average in 2012-13.

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