This is the Commodities and Recycling report, brought to you by BENLEE the industry leader in Roll off Trailers and Open Top Scrap Gondola Trailers, as well as Raleigh and Goldsboro Metal Recycling, the leaders in North Carolina for Scrap Metal, Cardboard, Electronics and Junk Cars.
Today is Monday August 24th, 2015. My name is Greg Brown, President and CEO of the companies.
As we are shooting this report this morning, commodity prices around the world are going down yet again to new 6+ year lows. This is after a terrible week last week. Importantly, there is no forecast that things will get better anytime soon.
The driver behind the declines is last week's data from China that showed their manufacturing declined the most last month in any month in the past 6+ years. As many know, China produces more than half the world's steel and consumes about half the world's copper.
U.S. steel production rose slightly last week and continues its very slow increase since the April low, but production remains significantly below last year.
Oil hit new 6+ year lows last week and this morning, which is one of the reasons why the oil rig count is now about half of what it was a year ago. Despite the low prices, the oil rig count rose slightly last week.
One would expect this increase to turn into a decrease in the next few weeks, so the amount of steel used in these rigs will go down.
Scrap steel prices remain at multi-year lows. At this point current discussions are that next month we could see stabilization at this very low level, but with the news in the past few days, this could change.
The copper story has not changed other than getting worse. Copper prices hit new 6+ year lows last week and this morning as well. We believe copper prices will decline further in the next couple of months.
Aluminum followed copper down last week and this morning. It too hit new 6+ year lows.
In summary, the big new stories last week and this morning were all bad. Metals all hit new lows, China manufacturing slowed the most in years, oil prices hit new 6+ lows and stock markets around the world are in free fall.
We remain trying to be positive in that lower oil prices are a tax break to the world, which will fuel consumer and business spending and therefore help commodity prices. Also, with low prices on Wall Street, this is a buying opportunity! Stocks are on sale.
An important positive news story last week was that housing starts rose to their second highest level in over 8 years. This is great for jobs and could help support commodity prices.
Sims Metal Management the largest metal recycler in the world released earnings last week that were ahead of last year, due to the increase in electronics recycling and the positive impact of the strong U.S. dollar.
Sims reports earnings out of Australia, so when their U.S. sales and earnings were translated to Australian dollars, it made their earnings better. As with all other recyclers we know of, Sim's profits were below last year for metal recycling in the U.S.
For current prices, please call us at 919-828-5426 in Raleigh, 919-731-5600 in Goldsboro.
With that we hope all have a Safe and Profitable week. Tune in next week for the Commodity and Recycling report.