Background to Metal Bulletin price assessments and indices

Introduction to Metal Bulletin prices

Metal Bulletin has produced independent assessments of non-ferrous metal prices, steel prices and scrap prices for many decades since it was established in 1913. These non-ferrous and ferrous metal prices and scrap prices are used widely. Producers, consumers and trading companies take Metal Bulletin prices as the basis to settle contracts with their counterparties. Companies and banks employ them to value inventories or ores, and to evaluate projects and opportunities. Governments consider them when they calculate royalties and tariffs.

Metal Bulletin assesses prices in a wide variety of markets, with a number of different terms and in different currencies, at varying frequencies. Metal Bulletin’s pricing develops with markets. In 2011 we have introduced more remnimbi-based pricing, index pricing and daily pricing. In order for people that use or are interested in the prices to understand the methods that govern their assessment and publication, an overview follows.

If you would like to contribute to Metal Bulletin’s pricing, or have comments on the grades, specifications and prices that we publish, feel free to contact Metal Bulletin’s editor, Alex Harrison, aharrison@metalbulletin.com for non-ferrous prices; or Metal Bulletin’s steel editor Vera Blei, vblei@metalbulletin.com, for steel prices.


Metal Bulletin pricing principles

The principles for all Metal Bulletin prices, whether assessed ranges or indices, are the same. They involve the detailed canvassing of buyers and sellers at set periods by reporters, who specialise in the markets they are pricing.

Metal Bulletin is completely impartial and independent and engages with all sides of the market, including sellers, buyers and traders.

Their goal is to discover at what level market participants have concluded business, made offers or received bids over a certain defined period, which is generally the period since the conclusion of the previous price quotation. In addition to reported business — and most particularly when no business has been transacted — Metal Bulletin will weigh bids, offers and assessments of the market by participants.

Details of the deals reported are recorded, and verified on both sides whenever possible. Information relevant to the transaction — such as credit or delivery terms, lot size, grade and chemical specification, and details about the status and position of buyer and seller — are also taken into consideration. At times, Metal Bulletin will ask to see signed contracts or other materials as evidence of claimed deals.

From the information that Metal Bulletin receives, it either produces a range, to reflect the spread of prices at which business has been transacted, offered or bid; or, in the case of indices, a single number.

Metal Bulletin will use its judgment to exclude outlying numbers and discount prices that it believes may otherwise be questionable. Metal Bulletin is completely independent and has no vested commercial interest in any of the markets that it prices.

Metal Bulletin encourages wide participation in its prices: all participants in the market are welcome to contribute transactions, bids, offers and assessments for Metal Bulletin to consider in its formation of prices.


Metal Bulletin prices by frequency

Metal Bulletin assesses some of the prices that it publishes on a daily, twice-weekly and weekly basis. It also publishes monthly averages. It publishes prices in a range of currencies, principally the US dollar, but also the euro, the Chinese RMB, UK sterling and the South African rand.

MB daily assessment (MB LME grade A copper premium Rotterdam, for example)

MB daily index (MB iron ore index, for example)

MB bi-weekly assessment (MB high-grade cobalt, for example)

MB weekly assessment (MB LM24 pressure diecasting aluminium ingot, for example)

MB weekly index (MB alumina index fob Australia, for example)

MB monthly assessment (MB Egyptian domestic rebar price, for example)

MB monthly average of daily prices

MB monthly average of bi-weekly prices

MB monthly average of weekly prices

In addition to the different types of Metal Bulletin prices, and the varying intervals at which they are assessed, Metal Bulletin also publishes prices from external sources.

Exchange prices (for example, London Metal Exchange three-month copper prices)

Producer prices (for example, Johnson Matthey ruthenium base price)

Association prices (for example, Verein Deutscher Metallhandler’s heavy copper scrap price in Germany)

Spreads, or ranges, for Metal Bulletin prices

When Metal Bulletin prices are quoted as a range, it expresses a spread between the lower and higher prices at which business has been transacted, or at which bids and offers have been made by buyers, sellers or market-makers. Prices quoted from the London Metal Exchange reflect the bid/ask spread by which the market operates.


Effective dates for Metal Bulletin prices

Most Metal Bulletin prices are effective on the date they are assessed and published, and cover the time period since the price was previously assessed. Steel prices carry the following information: date (which represents the date the market was last assessed); month (in the case of domestic prices and export, or fob, prices, the month of production; in the case of import, or cfr, prices, the month of delivery).


Metal Bulletin’s calculation of average prices

Metal Bulletin publishes monthly averages for a selection of its prices; prices from the London Metal Exchange prices; gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices; and average exchange rates. The Metal Bulletin monthly averages are calculated by dividing the sum of the price quotations by the number of quotations published during the calendar month. There is an MB monthly average high price and an MB monthly average low price. The LME monthly averages are calculated by dividing the sum of the daily bid/ask mean by the number of trading days during the month. The daily prices for gold, silver, platinum, palladium and exchange rates are calculated by dividing the sum of the daily prices by the number of trading days during the month.


Questions about Metal Bulletin prices

In the event that market participants or observers have further questions about Metal Bulletin prices, they should feel free to contact Metal Bulletin’s editor, Alex Harrison, aharrison@metalbulletin.com for non-ferrous prices; or Metal Bulletin’s steel editor Vera Blei, vblei@metalbulletin.com, for steel prices.


This Disclaimer is in addition to our Terms and Conditions as available on our website and shall not supersede or otherwise affect these Terms and Conditions. Prices and other information contained in this publication have been obtained by us from various sources believed to be reliable. This information has not been independently verified by us. Those prices and price indices that are evaluated or calculated by us represent an approximate evaluation of current levels based upon dealings (if any) that may have been disclosed prior to publication to us. Such prices are collated through regular contact with producers, traders, dealers, brokers and purchasers although not all market segments may be contacted prior to the evaluation, calculation, or publication of any specific price or index. Actual transaction prices will reflect quantities, grades and qualities, credit terms, and many other parameters. The prices are in no sense comparable to the quoted prices of commodities in which a formal futures market exists.

Evaluations or calculations of prices and price indices by us are based upon certain market assumptions and evaluation methodologies, and may not conform to prices or information available from third parties. There may be errors or defects in such assumptions or methodologies that cause resultant evaluations to be inappropriate for use. Your use or reliance on any prices or other information published by us is at your sole risk. Neither we nor any of our providers of information make any representations or warranties, express or implied as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information forming any part of the published information or its fitness or suitability for a particular purpose or use. Neither we, nor any of our officers, employees or representatives shall be liable to any person for any losses or damages incurred, suffered or arising as a result of use or reliance on the prices or other information contained in this publication, howsoever arising, including but not limited to any direct, indirect, consequential, punitive, incidental, special or similar damage, losses or expenses.

We are not an investment adviser, a financial adviser or a securities broker. The information published has been prepared solely for informational and educational purposes and is not intended for trading purposes or to address your particular requirements. The information provided is not an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, commodity, financial product, instrument or other investment or to participate in any particular trading strategy. Such information is intended to be available for your general information and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any specific investment or other decisions. Your investment actions should be solely based upon your own decisions and research and appropriate independent advice should be obtained from a suitably qualified independent adviser before any such decision is made.