CHICAGO Seven of nine
prime and scrap metal price indices tracked by the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics declined month on month in March, and all
but one index was weaker year on year.
The producer price index (PPI)
for steel mill products was 196.0 in March, off slightly from
February and 9.5 percent lower year on year.
The PPI for copper and brass
mill shapes, at 426.5, was down 2.6 percent month on month and
5.5 percent year on year. The copper-based scrap index fell 3.3
percent in March after posting three consecutive monthly
The index for aluminum mill
shapes was off 0.1 percent month on month and 2.7 percent year
on year. Aluminum-based scrap pricing fell 2.8 percent and was
6.6 percent lower compared with March 2012.
The PPI for all finished goods
fell 0.6 percent in March (seasonally adjusted) after rising
the previous two months. At the earlier stages of processing,
prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods dipped
0.9 percent, and that for crude goods fell 2.5 percent.
Iron and steel scrap was the
outlier in March, rising 6.6 percent to 549.3, although it fell
13 percent from a year earlier.
"Inflation remains quiet. Core
inflation is low and steady, and the headline ups and downs are
being driven by gasoline prices," Nigel Gault, chief U.S.
economist for Lexington, Mass.-based IHS Global Insight Inc.,
"Since gasoline prices have
fallen further in April, we are likely to see the headline PPI
drop again next month," he added.