If you're looking for a solid backgrounder on trends in global metals purchases, check out this Purchasing article from last week. In particular, the article looks at the trend towards metals import and export worldwide. According to the article, price arbitrage -- resulting from both lower cost materials and production -- is the primary driver of global metals trade in some categories. Indeed, "offshore steel is cheaper than the products made in North America—in fact, sheet steel products are as much as 60% less expensive from some offshore nations (before adding delivery costs of freight, insurance and tariffs)". However, "prices of nonferrous and precious metals are the same worldwide," according to the article. There are two global sourcing metals experts who I know that read Spend Matters on a regular basis who will probably have far more insightful things to say on this subject, so I'll leave the rest of the analysis of the piece to them.