Red Metals Shipments See Usual Year-End Slowdown
Despite a bigger slowdown in shipping in October, suppliers and service centers remain cautiously confident in the continued strengthening of the market. October shipments of copper products, including sheet, plate, rod and pipe, totaled 7,759,000 pounds, down 17.5 percent from the previous month. Total alloy shipments of 12,706,000 pounds were off 6.8 percent from September.
The trend remains positive for the year, however, Year to date through the first 10 months, service centers shipped 91,263,000 pounds of copper products, a 15.6 percent improvement over the 2009 period. Alloy shipments of 132,665,000 were up 22.7 percent for the year, according to CBSA data.
Service centers’ expectations for the next three months are mixed. A few (13 percent) expect incoming orders to pick up, but the majority (52 percent) expect them to remain relatively stable. About one-third (36 percent) expect orders to decrease. Inventory levels are expected to remain fairly steady. Suppliers expressed similar expectations.
The largest stressor continues to be the fluctuating price of copper and other alloys, a trend that will undoubtedly continue through the coming year, says Josephine Mason, nonferrous editor at American Metal Market. Mason discussed the market trends that are likely to dominate 2011 in a CBSA-produced webinar for members earlier this month. A recording of that webinar is available at www.copper-brass.org.