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Most metals see pricing index fizzle

Keywords: Tags  producer price index, steel products, iron and steel scrap, aluminum, copper and brass, copper scrap, nonferrous metal ores, Michael Montgomery IHS Global Insight

CHICAGO — Iron and steel scrap prices remained flat in October vs. the previous month, with steel mill product pricing following suit, according to the latest producer price index (PPI) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, the PPI for iron and steel scrap was 8.4 percent higher than in October 2012.

The aluminum mill shapes index slipped 0.7 percent from September and fell 5 percent from a year earlier. The aluminum scrap PPI rose 1 percent in October but dropped 7.4 percent year on year.

The copper and brass mill shapes index was flat month on month but fell 7.5 percent from October 2012. The copper scrap index inched up 0.6 percent in October vs. the previous month but fell 3.7 percent from October 2012.

The nonferrous metal ores index fell 2.1 percent in October compared with September and declined 16.4 percent year on year.

The index for all finished goods fell 0.2 percent in October, seasonally adjusted, and that for crude goods declined 0.9 percent compared with September.

Prices for finished energy goods fell 1.5 percent month on month, paced by a 3.8-percent drop in gasoline. Diesel and natural gas prices also declined, as did home heating oil.

"There is no inflation pressure now and none in the pipeline, " according to Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight Inc., Lexington, Mass.

"With Europe still in a funk and China struggling with recovery from a slowdown, there is no spark to get inflation rolling anytime soon and the next upcycle in commodities, when they fare better, will probably be mild," he said.

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