Continuing Price Volatility
In two previous issues of the ICF Newsletter we have looked at the impact of price trends of major raw materials on the cable industry and the industry’s customers, the last of these being two years ago. During 2005 and 2006 prices of many key raw materials used in cable-making rose sharply. In some cases material prices became much more volatile, with substantial fluctuations in market prices on a short timescale. Since then the volatility has continued and after a slump due to the economic crisis that hit at the end of 2008, prices have now risen again. The price of copper in particular is now a major talking point in the cable industry and so we thought it was appropriate to revisit this topic in this issue.
Impact of High Material Prices
In this article we update the discussion of raw material price trends contained in the earlier articles. We look at developments in some key cable-making materials over the past two years and we also discuss the impact of high material prices on some sectors of the cable market. We take a renewed look at some potential issues relating to material substitution (especially substitution of copper by alternatives) in some types of cable, and review the possible impact of CCA (copper-clad aluminium) conductors. Another issue in many markets that has become a growing problem as a consequence of persistently high metal prices is cable theft.