Prices of metals in their primary form like iron, steel or copper were nearly 20 percent higher in February 2011 from one year previously. For the twelfth consecutive month, selling prices have risen relative to the same month in the preceding year, but prices are still below the level of mid-2008.
Prices basic metals
Iron and steel prices 23 percent up
Iron and steel prices were 23 percent up on one year previously in February. Selling prices of these metals in their primary form have soared over the past three quarters following a period of sharp price drops. In the summer of 2009, iron and steel prices were 30 percent below the level of the same period in 2008. Prices of iron and steel pipes have also gone up considerably.
The price increase is partly due to a combination of higher demand and lower supply. The demand from China, for example, increased in 2010. Prices of raw materials important for the production of iron and steel, like iron ore and coal, have also risen. This is caused by natural disasters in various places across the globe, which have complicated the production of iron ore and coal.
Prices iron and steel and non-ferrous metals
Higher demand for metals for the manufacture of electronic products
Prices of non-ferrous metals (and precious metals) were 22 percent up in February on February 2010. Metal prices have risen since mid-2009 and by the end of 2010 have passed the price level of 2008. The price increase is due to a higher demand for metals like copper, which is used in the manufacturing process of electronic products and the growing demand from China. Other metals in primary form, e.g. cast work, also became more expensive, but the price increase was much more modest.
Higher metal prices affect prices metal products
Prices of products made of steel, like metal constructions and boilers have not risen so dramatically as prices of metals in primary form. Prices of metal products were only 3 percent higher in February 2011 than one year previously. Apart from prices of raw materials, the price level of metal products is also affected by other factors, like wage and transport costs. The reduced demand for metal products due to the poor situation in the construction sector, also affected prices.
Prices metals and metal products