Market Watch For August 2008: Material Demand

Sept. 12, 2008
Steel and aluminum prices still running, but corn and natural gas finally pull back.

Far fewer commodities registered higher prices in August, according to the latest ISM Manufacturing Report on Business (ROB) released on Sept. 2. Coming off a rough July when not a single material got any cheaper, August saw natural gas retreating from a nine-month run up while corn prices finally dropped after moving up every month since the April report.

Commodities Up In Price

Aluminum (7)
Aluminum Extrusions (6)
Caustic Soda (6)
Chemicals (4)
Corrugated Containers (4)
Diesel Fuel* (6)
Freight (4)
Fuel Surcharges (6)
Petroleum-based Products (4)
Plastics (3)
Plastic Resins
Polyethylene -- High Density
Polypropylene Resins
Steel (8)
Sulfuric Acid (2)

Commodities Cooling Off?

"When the price of oil has fallen by more than 20%, and other commodities from steel and aluminum to corn and wheat have all fallen in price significantly, it represents a cushion for the economy. It is one of the few supports that we have right now."

-- Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University in the Washington Post on Aug. 21.

Commodities Down In Price

Diesel Fuel*
Fuel Oil
Natural Gas
Soybean Oil

Commodities In Short Supply

Caustic Soda (6)

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.

*Reported as both up and down in price

Source: August 2008 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business

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