Here’s a brief update on material pricing.
Zinc has now fallen from the $2 US/lb that it was late last year to about $1.50 US now. However, many platers buy zinc on contract, and so until their contracts run out, higher prices will prevail. By comparison, zinc was $0.50 in June of ’05
Copper is again on the rise. It got down as far as $2.50 in February, but is up around $3.30 now. A year ago it was $4.00, so it’s a bit off the peak, but not enough to feel comfortable.
Nickel is climbing and shows no sign of stopping. It’s currently about $22.75, up from $16 at the year boundary, from $8 a year ago, and $3 five years ago.
Zinc is used in almost every method of rust-proofing steel (except stainless steel). Nickel is used in stainless steel. Brass is a combination of zinc and copper.