The UAW (United Auto Workers) strike was finally settled, and average wages will increase 25% over the next three years. The Big 3 have been highly profitable over the last three years, and the unions were able to take a share of it. The other non-union auto makers, mainly in the south, will also raise their wages to keep the unions out.
China’s influence on the metals market remains minimal. While metals-related real estate demand is reeling, other sectors of China’s economy are picking up the slack to some extent. Specifically, there is decent metal uptake in EVs (Electric vehicles), electric cables, power grids, and solar and wind turbine production. With China still producing a surplus of most metals, prices remain flat.
November metals yawned. From July to November, prime and scrap prices have changed by only 3%. Steel prices rose 8% this month. The steel mills are running at an annual rate of 75%, down from last year’s 78%.
Thanks to Edward Meir of Marex for providing the latest 2024 Reuters forecasts for the cash price averages and inventory surpluses.
Cash Aluminum: $2,350, with a 250,000-ton surplus
Cash Copper: $8,625, with a 302,500-ton surplus
Cash Nickel: $19,270, with a 205,000-ton surplus