US grain futures declined on Tuesday, with wheat futures for March delivery falling 0.3 percent to $6.1975 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $6.1875, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 2012, amid forecasts for record-high global output.
Unit labor costs – a gauge of the labor-related cost for any given unit of output – fell at a 1.4 per cent rate in the third quarter, roughly double the originally estimated fall, underscoring the lack of wage-related inflation pressures in the economy. Unit labor costs had risen at a 2.0 per cent pace in the second quarter.
US labor productivity rose at a 3.0 per cent annual rate in Q3 2013 after increasing at a 1.8 per cent pace in the second quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said today, driven by a 4.7 per cent rise in output and 1.7 percent in hours worked.
This is the largest increase in the quarterly series since a 4.7 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 2009. From the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013, productivity increased 0.3 percent as output and hours worked rose 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Raw sugar futures, down 15 percent this year, are heading for a third annual decline, the longest slump since 1992. Prices slid as producers from Brazil to Australia, the third-biggest shipper, boosted output after futures reached a 30-year high in February 2011, despite worries about supply interruptions.
Prices struck a 3.5-year low point in London, at $442.10 a tonne. Last Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, the price of a tonne of white sugar for March dropped to $443.80 from $454.20 a week earlier.
Of all the LME-listed metals, palladium is the only one not to have decreased since the beginning of the year. Gold and platinum dropped 26% and 10% respectively, copper 14% and aluminum 15%. The London Metal Exchange Index, the composite index of the LME‘s six primary non-ferrous metals, fell more than 15%.
The precious metal has sound fundamentals especially with a Chinese car production growth in double digits. The listing of an ounce of palladium could reach $800 in 2014 and gradually climb to $1,000.
Driving down costs by ‘coaxing’ voluntary behavior change. Anyone who survived the social pressure cooker of high school knows about the power of peer pressure.
For purchasing professionals trying to drive down cost, the good news is that peer pressure can have the same impact in corporate corridors as it did in the blackboard jungle.
In a Perfect World
Imagine the negotiating edge you would have if you knew—and could demonstrate—what you SHOULD be paying for the products you buy, especially when suppliers come to you with sad tales about price increases they just can’t hold off any longer because of global commodity price rises.
This is not wishful thinking.
We certainly hear a lot about the importance of reducing the amount of carbon our species is releasing into the atmosphere. But we don’t hear much about what this really means to our profession: in other words, how important is a ‘green’ Supply-Chain in North America?
To answer this question we recently sent out a 14-question survey to hundreds of Supply-Chain professionals. The results are in and you may find them interesting.
Three Key Findings.
Back in 2003, we created a simple, on-line survey to help Purchasing Professionals gauge their organization’s overall purchasing effectiveness.
The goals were to first measure attitudes and practices, and then offer concrete suggestions for making improvements. The initiative was successful: almost 3,000 people participated.
One of our readers had a great idea – why not re-do the survey? We could compare new results to the original numbers and see if there’s been a shift in attitudes and practices, over the past 7 years.
These 7 areas are covered and answers range between strongly agree and strongly disagree.
According to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, the global aluminum market was in oversupply by some 1.23 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2013, following a surplus of 539,000 tonnes for the whole of 2012. It’s this quantity of metal above ground which drove prices this week to their lowest value since mid-2009.
Natural gas futures rose Monday, climbing for the fourth straight session, as traders bet that a powerful winter storm moving toward the East Coast, along with a recent cold spell, would boost demand for the heating fuel.