Commodities Roundup: Steel Prices Stay Down, Precious Metals Prices Stay Up, Brexit Stays Confusing

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For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets.

From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week:

Steel Prices Still Trend Down

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell again this month, dropping to 83 points. The Raw Steels MMI held at 89 points since August for four consecutive months, but started decreasing in November, MetalMiner’s Irene Martinez Canorea writes, also taking a look at how domestic steel prices may fare in 2019.

“Domestic steel prices remain in a downtrend that may last until the Chinese steel sector shows some strength again,” she writes.

“Historically, prices tend to drift lower during the beginning of Q4 and then rise. Last year, HRC domestic prices started to increase in December, then skyrocketed during the first quarter of 2018. However, MetalMiner does not see this increase happening during this year’s Q4 cycle.”

These metals also made headlines: Nickel Prices Fall, Stainless Surcharges Steady and Copper Prices Build on Previous Months’ Gains.

Platinum, Palladium Diverge

MetalMiner’s precious metals index — tracking platinum, palladium, gold and silver prices in several geographies across the globe — officially marks a three-month uptrend this December after several months of declines, Metal Miner’s Taras Berezowsky reports.

The U.S. palladium bar price is in a four-month upswing, at $1,192 per ounce at the beginning of the month. Within the last month, palladium actually outpriced gold for the first time in 16 years, Reuters reported.

Platinum reversed its uptrend from last month, landing lower at $806 per ounce. This widens the platinum-palladium spread even further, forcing many analysts to wonder what will happen in 2019.

Brexit, an Inside View

Metal Miner’s Stuart Burns, who writes from the UK, catches us up on the Brexit turmoil, the proposed Brexit deal and the Brexit options. This week a vote was delayed on the deal, but a no-confidence vote was held on the fate of the prime minister. She won the vote, but faces no more support for her deal with the European Union. “If you have followed the news and are confused by what the latest offering provides you are in good company,” Burns writes. “Pretty much the whole of the UK is equally perplexed.” But here he offers some insight and three options for the outcome.

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