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The Surprising History of Metals Pricing

July 5, 2018
While many people were getting ready for the July 4 holiday, our copper expert John Gross was digging into the pricing history of some key metals. What he learned may surprise you.

I was talking to myself again last week and asked, “John, what was the best performing market since 2000?”

Almost immediately, I said to myself, “Copper, of course.”

Then I thought about it a bit more, and recalled that a few years ago, nickel traded well above $50,000 per metric tonne, so, perhaps it is nickel. But then I reminded myself that tin traded over $30,000 PMT a while back, but that did not beat nickel.

Aluminum? “No,” I said to myself, “Aluminum did alright, but it didn’t come close to the other markets.”

Perhaps it was zinc. “Well John,” I said, “Zinc had a few good runs, but not enough to say it was the best.”

Feeling at a loss, I asked myself, “What else is there?”

So, bitten by the curiosity bug again, I laid out the numbers, and could not believe what I saw:

Lead was the best performing metal from Jan 2000 to last month. Who would have guessed? 

Back to copper. June was a tough month. Although the monthly average price came in at a five-month high of $3.12, we know the daily numbers tell a very different story.

The combination of trade tensions, and the stronger dollar hit metals pretty hard, and at this point, there is little on the horizon to suggest things will get better anytime soon.

Best to batten down the hatches, and hedge your bets till this storm passes.

If you would like to learn more about how to manage your wire and cable inventory, email John by clicking here or calling him at 631-824-6486.