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Renewables/GOES MMI: Steel Plate Drops While Battery Metals Hold Strong

The December Renewables MMI (Monthly MetalMiner Index) traded sideways, practically in a straight line. Overall, metal prices within the index only dropped…

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This article was originally published by Metal Miner

The December Renewables MMI (Monthly MetalMiner Index) traded sideways, practically in a straight line. Overall, metal prices within the index only dropped 0.83%. This sideways trend contrasts sharply with the steep drop renewables saw just six months ago.

Battery metals within the index, such as cobalt and silicon, held a steady sideways trend, only rising or dropping slightly. However, steel plate dropped both domestically and globally, with the only exception being Japanese steel plate. In general, the index appears pushed and pulled in different directions. This is largely due to the changing demand and supply of the various metals under the renewables umbrella.

While battery metals are likely to persevere thanks to the global push for things like EVs, steel plate’s future remains less certain. Indeed, zero-COVID continues to significantly impact metal prices as a whole, including steel plate.

How is zero-COVID impacting trading and prices for renewable metals like cobalt, lithium and manganese? Stay up-to-date on renewable metal trends by subscribing to MetalMiner’s free weekly newsletter here.

Renewable Resources: Chinese Solar Panel Concerns Impacting Metal Prices?

The US Department of Commerce recently investigated a potential issue with Chinese solar panel trading. According to an article on the topic, the DOC concluded that four of the eight Chinese solar panel companies under US investigation are “attempting to bypass US duties by doing minor processing in one of the Southeast Asian countries before shipping to the United States.” 

If this is true, it represents a violation of US trade laws and could warrant repercussions. However, this would cause problems. For starters, most US solar panels come from China. It’s true that new manufacturers are cropping up around the US for internal solar panel production. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to meet the current domestic demand.

Further complicating matters is the fact that most silicon reserves sit within Chinese borders. Silicon makes up 95% of a solar panel’s body. That said, the US itself lies within the top 5 countries in the world in terms of silicon production. So the possibility of directing traffic away from China exists, but it will be slow going. In many ways, this is not unlike searching for rare earth sources outside of China, which is a topic MetalMiner discussed earlier this week.

MetalMiner Insights, a dynamic metal pricing and forecasting platform, now offers indexes for a full suite of battery and renewable metals like cobalt, manganese, and lithium. Request a free demo here.

Metal Prices: Cobalt Declined in the Short-Term, but Moved Sideways in the Long-Term

metal prices

Since Q2 of 2022, cobalt prices have declined slightly month-over-month. Despite this, cobalt remains in a steady sideways trend. Demand steadily grew over the past few years. This has a lot to do with the easing of COVID restrictions within China. MetalMiner currently anticipates that cobalt will enjoy a distinct advantage over other declining metals. In our opinion, this is due to the consistent high demand for cobalt in consumer electronics.

With much of the world’s cobalt supply coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the central African nation is now in the international cobalt spotlight. China, for instance, has its eye on DRC for this exact reason. Recently, an article highlighted North Mining Limited, part of the Norinco Conglomerate, currently controls cobalt mining initiatives within DRC remotely from Beijing. This means that China could be trying to dominate the growing battery metal market. With heavy demand for cobalt and other metals used for things like EV batteries and electroplating, this could give China firm control over the global cobalt market.

As China attempts to get a lucrative hold on the green energy movement, MetalMiner anticipates the strong demand for cobalt will continue. However, the uncertainty regarding when zero-COVID restrictions will ease continue to impact the market and metal prices.

How can you time your cobalt purchases correctly in order to smooth out volatility and reduce margin erosion? Read how here.

GOES (Grain Oriented Electrical Steel) MMI

The December GOES MMI (Monthly MetalMiner Index) rose sharply, with metal prices inside the index climbing by 10.4%.

Numerous factors contributed to the spike in the index, including:

  • Slowed manufacturing in Europe (where the energy crisis still holds strong) and China (where demand is low due to zero-COVID). Two of the largest GOES manufacturers in particular could be feeling these effects (ThyssenKrupp, located in Germany, and Arnold Magnetic Technology, located across Europe and also within China).
  • Demand for GOES and new transformers remains strong amid the need for expanding power grids. The push for new, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power continues to contribute to this, and more transformers are needed to help transfer energy from wind and solar fields to homes and businesses.

Renewables/GOES MMI – Most Noteworthy Price Trends:

  • Grain oriented electrical steel, after shooting up by 10.4%, currently sits at $4949.00 per metric ton.
  • Silicon traded sideways, dropping in price slightly by 0.95%. Prices at month’s start sat at $2724.81 per metric ton.
  • Cobalt also traded sideways and dropped in price by a mere 0.17%. Prices at month’s start sat at $47,903.77 per metric ton.

If you enjoyed this article, and want to stay posted on renewable metal trends, sign up for MetalMiner’s free monthly MMI report (monthly MetalMiner index). Get monthly updates and price trends for 10 different metal industries.





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