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Magazine Issue: January 2015


Cover Story

Turnaround time
Under Klaus Kleinfeld’s leadership, Alcoa has significantly boosted its share in growth markets like aerospace and automotive, using technology to develop next-generation alloys, and simultaneously opted to cut costs, sell capacity and curtail high-cost production lines.

Market Spotlight

MARKET SPOTLIGHT: ALUMINUM

MARKET SPOTLIGHT: ALUMINUM

MARKET SPOTLIGHT: ALUMINUM

Columns

PARTING SHOTS

FULL OF SCRAP

THE METRICS SYSTEM

THE MONTH IN METALS

From the Editor

COMMENT

  • One thing seems certain: business attitude matters

    The big question following the stunning Republican victories in the midterm elections—not just in the U.S. Senate, but also in governorships and statehouses—is whether 2015 will mark an end to political uncertainty or create an even more hardened version.

Features

2015 OUTLOOK: NICKEL

  • Roller coaster ride

    Foreign issues—especially those concerning Chinese raw materials—will influence the nickel market, but other factors, including supply-and-demand dynamics and government regulation, will continue to put prices on an up-and-down path during 2015.

2015 OUTLOOK: COPPER

  • China remains key to the future of copper

    Copper producers are optimistic about 2015 after a mixed year in which threats of oversupply, a slowdown in Chinese demand growth and slightly declining prices created some doubt about the current and future health of a market that can be difficult to predict.

2015 OUTLOOK: TITANIUM

  • Titanium stability

    Despite strains between Boeing and mills early in its long-term buying program and more recent industry speculation that political tensions could threaten the flow of material from a crucial Russian source, the aerospace giant’s titanium outlook for 2015 appears untroubled.

2015 OUTLOOK: SECONDARY ALUMINUM

  • Secondary aluminum still facing major issues

    The year ahead is likely to see a continuation of major issues affecting the secondary aluminum market, including sweeping LME rule changes, Chinese insistence on higher-quality scrap and a shortage of material needed to meet strong automotive demand.

2015 OUTLOOK: ALUMINUM

  • Light fixtures

    The automotive sector—especially pickup trucks—is seen driving aluminum demand in 2015, with consumption surpassing records set in previous decades by about 1 billion pounds, and studies predict that aluminum usage will grow exponentially over the next decade.

2015 OUTLOOK: FERROUS SCRAP

  • Dollar days

    Although the US economy continues to improve, the domestic scrap industry will face significant headwinds in 2015, including a strong dollar that is making imports cheaper and exports more expensive, driving countries like Turkey to seek scrap elsewhere.

2015 OUTLOOK: IMPORTS/EXPORTS

  • Trade winds

    The steel trade outlook for 2015 is upbeat but tempered as import tonnages will probably be down from historically high levels in 2014, and expensive US prices for commodity steel may mean that some specialized and niche steel products could dominate steel exports.

2015 OUTLOOK: STAINLESS STEEL

  • Strong finishes

    The North American stainless steel industry had a strong 2014, but questions remain over whether such positive indicators can continue through 2015 as Chinese material dominates the global market and US producers face import threats.

2015 OUTLOOK: TUBE AND PIPE

  • Full of energy

    Oil prices will be key to oil country tubular goods and line pipe demand in 2015, according to analysts who follow energy sector demand, and where it intersects with the manufacture, supply and market share of steel products.

2015 OUTLOOK: FLAT-ROLLED STEEL

  • Global supply could be steel's achilles heel

    Despite strong demand from the growing automotive sector and an anticipated rebound in construction activity, prices could decline for a domestic industry that continues to be dogged by surging import volumes, low input costs and a strong US dollar.

2015 OUTLOOK: INDUSTRY SURVEY

  • Getting better?

    Although a majority of respondents to AMM ’s annual survey on the outlook for the metals sector said business should be better in 2015, a slightly smaller number indicated that it will be 2016 or even later before the US economy fully recovers.

END-USER SPOTLIGHT

MANAGEMENT CORNER

NORTH TO SOUTH

  • Orders on the borders

    The US iron and steel industry shares porous borders with Canada and Mexico as steel flows south to automotive assembly plants and ferrous scrap moves into and out of the three nations, maintaining a reliable relationship for the geographically close trading partners.

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

  • Mexico on the go

    Mexico’s macroeconomic and steel sector trends look good as a result of automotive strength and higher infrastructure and construction spending, growth that has translated into a significant improvement in the nation’s steel consumption.

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