Copper prices have tripled since 2008, and thefts are skyrocketing as measured by news reports.
Guest post by Mark J. Perry
When this line rises, so do thefts…

Paul Kedrosky reported yesterday that copper thefts are rising again, due to the all-time record high prices in recent months.  The chart above displays monthly copper prices back to 1980, and shows that copper prices have tripled from $1.40 per pound at the end of 2008 to recent highs this month approaching $4.50 per pound.  
According to a Google News search, there have been 545 news stories in just the last week containing the phrase “copper theft,” and that compares to 665 stories during the entire year of 2009 when copper prices were between $1.50-$3.00 per pound, and 1,750 stories last year as prices rose above $4 per pound by the end of the year.
Originally posted  Monday January 24, 2011: Carpe Diem

The prices of raw materials that we track rose substantially this year!

  • Aluminum  up 44% from Dec 2008.
  • Copper up 112% from Dec 2008
  • Nickel up 27% from Dec 2008
  • Steel busheling up 35% from Dec 2008
  • China coke up 60% from Dec 2008

We expect to see continued incidents of shortages, material unavailability, and skyrocketing surcharges and price increases until the supply lines are filled.
Here is link to PMPA’s Material Impacts Report for year end 2009.
Last year taught us 2 economics lessons:

  1. It doesn’t matter how many parts your machines can supply. Orders are based on DEMAND.
  2. Prices for raw materials inevitably go up when there is no SUPPLY available.

Remember those the next time your customer tells you they want a fixed price or a mandatory discount.
For more on Supply and Demand:

Well, maybe the demand we’re talking about is a wee bit different…

Cartoon Credit.


Of course prices have risen.

Information tool you can use.
Information tool you can use.

We finally are back to manufacturing expansion following 18 months of  contraction in the manufacturing sector.  Supply chain pretty much destocked. Low inventories. Domestic mills operating at 47% of capacity. Global influences on scrap and raw materials. You need a program to follow this game. We’re providing you one with this edition of PMPA’s Material Impacts Report.
The prices of the raw materials that we track have continued to rise with double digit percentage gains over January with one exception: China Coke. Year over year, all prices are still down significantly. 

  • Aluminum: Up 18.65% from January
  • Copper: Up 86.67% from January.
  • Nickel: Up 27% from May, up 4.44 % since January.
  • Steel Busheling: Up 26.67% from January.
  • China Coke: Down 2.73% from January. 

We have seen price increase announcements in addition to surcharge increases since our last report. 
Details in PMPA’s Material Impacts Report.