Nickel price surges to record peak on Indonesian ban, Ukraine

Posted: April 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: China, Commodities, Indonesia, Metals, Nickel, Russia, Ukraine | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Indonesia Nickel banOn the London Metal Exchange, nickel for delivery in three months jumped 2.2 percent to settle at $17,790 a metric ton. Earlier, the price reached $17,917, the highest since Feb. 19, 2013. The commodity climbed for the 11th straight session, the longest advance since Oct. 6, 2010.

Nickel has ridden the longest rally in close to 40 months as the aftermath of a ban by Indonesia on exports of unprocessed mineral ores in January and concerns about Russian supply sank in. Indonesia’s ban that took effect in January and escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine will send the metal’s prices higher.

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A Supplier’s Advice for Purchasing Custom Tradeshow Exhibits & Environments

Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

3D ExhibitsDear Purchasing Professional,

We usually don’t get to speak with you directly when we respond to an RFP. But if we could, this is what we’d say.

We’d like you to know that to get the best value when buying custom tradeshow exhibits you need to take a slightly different purchasing approach. These products  require creative thinking (like advertising), and work best when uniquely crafted to fit your company’s needs.

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The end of aluminum 9-year surplus

Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Aluminum, Commodities, Metals | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

AluminumA broad look at the aluminum market shows that it’s not just this past year that the metal has performed poorly — it’s been down in the dumps for nearly a decade. As Bloomberg notes, “there have been nine years of excess global production … with Chinese output tripling in the period.”

All that doom and gloom makes this week’s news that in 2014 the metal may go into deficit that much more significant.

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Use labor productivity to drive down purchase costs

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Best practices, Gem, Negotiating with Suppliers | Tags: | No Comments »

Labor productivity Suppliers often use wage increases to justify nudging up prices each year, usually 1 or 2%. And it’s hard to argue: – seems reasonable, and it’s less than inflation.
But wages aren’t the real issue – labor costs are.

And the reality is that the average cost of a ‘unit of labor‘ is about the same today as it was 5 years ago.

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2014 palladium prices to average $825: HSBC

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Commodities, Metals, Palladium, Russia, South Africa | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

PalladiumPalladium prices soared to nearly $800 per ounce, their highest for two and a half years, last month. After staying in the $770~$790 range, it fell today with June futures last trading at $768.75, down 2.8% on the day and recovering slightly from a day low of $761.25.

HSBC’s James Steel and his team published a note late last week discussing platinum group metal prices, which they see as benefiting from tighter fundamentals, in part due to labor strikes in South Africa.

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Rubber prices down 6% on news from Thailand

Posted: April 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Rubber, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

RubberRubber prices are down as much as 6% this week as traders rush to sell on fears the market will become awash with surplus supply after the Thai government said it would start selling its massive stockpile.

Thai Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong said the government “will be trying to sell our rubber stocks when the price is right” although added that they won’t sell if prices are “too bad.”

The selloff adds to a bleak start to the year for the commodity, used to make tires and latex gloves, with prices down as much as 23% on signs China‘s resource-hungry economy is slowing.

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Corporate Social Responsibility in supply chains: an example of aluminum refining

Posted: April 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: CSR in purchasing, Gem | Tags: , | No Comments »

Corporate Social ResponsibilityCommodity production in many parts of the world causes huge problems for local communities. Extractive industries located in areas with poor environmental protection and enforcement can be particularly damaging.

For example this contentious aluminum refinery in Niyamgiri, India: The battle for Niyamgiri

Should purchasers have a role in influencing supply chains by avoiding companies with dubious social and environmental ethics? Would this be interfering with domestic governance and development, or does CSR (corporate social responsibility) pave the way for this type of decision? Are purchasers in a position to obtain and evaluate the information needed to make those decisions?


The Carbon Benefits of Recycled Materials

Posted: March 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: CSR in purchasing, Gem, Greening the Supply Chain | Tags: , , | No Comments »

RecyclingThe benefits of avoiding extraction and primary processing are usually significant, even when collection, transport and reprocessing of recycled material is taken into account.

An increasing range of recycled products are coming onto the market, such as glass, steel, aluminium, plastics and paper. Usually calculating the carbon benefit is reasonably straightforward. As the final products must perform to similar standards (whether from virgin or recycled materials) in order to compete in the market place, the carbon footprint during their ‘use phase’ will also be very similar.

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Natural gas: bullish US inventory numbers

Posted: March 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Energy, Natural Gas, USA | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Natural gasThe price of natural gas increased by 1.6% to 4.48 dollars per million British thermal units (Btu) following the publication of disappointing weekly inventory. According to the EIA, natural gas inventories in the United States have declined by 57 billion cubic feet (bcf) as of Friday, March 21, 2014.

While experts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a smaller decline of 52 bcf, US inventory was at 896 bcf, its lowest level since 2003. This higher than expected gas consumption reduced available gas and boosted price.

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Coffee slips as rain hits Brazil

Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Brazil, Coffee | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

CoffeeA drought – the worst in living memory – has struck Brazil‘s coffee belt, driving coffee price up by 50% between January and mid-March. But now, the prospect of heavy rains contributes to the decline in coffee prices.

Putting an end of the beginning of the year price rush, coffee prices have now been declining for two weeks. The International Coffee Organization (ICO) composite indicator price has moved down from $1.77 on March 13 to $1.53 on March 21 and was at $1.57 yesterday. This decrease can be explained by the prospect of heavy rains in Brazil‘s main coffee growing regions.

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