Why is iron hard and strong

Industrial Metal Price Index Iron and nickel hard, zinc and tin soft

At the current end, the IMP index rose slightly to 363.2 points. With an increase of 5 points or 1.4% in December, the almost equally large decline from the previous month was compensated for again. The index is still in the narrow range in which metal prices have already moved in recent months. However, the individual metals have moved significantly. There was a clear plus in December, especially for iron ore, which rose again by 8.4% after the strong fluctuations of the year. Copper (+3.1%) and tin (+4.3%) also increased at the end of the year. On the other hand, nickel has fallen sharply. After the massive fluctuations of the year, there has recently been a minus of 9.4%. Lead (-6.5%) and zinc (-6.8%) also became significantly cheaper in December. Aluminum and silver remained almost constant at -0.7%, gold was even completely stable.

In addition to the raw material markets, from the perspective of the German and European processors, the exchange relationships between the dollar and the euro are also relevant. The slight appreciation of the euro prevented a higher rise in metal costs in December. At a constant exchange rate, the IMP index would have risen by 2.0% instead of 1.4% to 365.3 points.

By contrast, the euro depreciated slightly against the dollar throughout 2019. If the exchange rate had stayed at the value of last December, the index would have increased from 326.4 points in December 2018 to 354.6 points at the end of 2019 - and not to the 363.2 points measured in real terms. Three quarters of the 11.3% increase over the course of 2019 is due to developments on the global metal markets and a quarter to the currency markets.