Asia Manufacturing Cost Drivers Report – 10/15

Most raw material prices and cost drivers associated with Asia manufacturing continued in October extending this year’s strongly favorable trend.


Almost all General Purpose Plastic resin prices moved favorable again in October except PET which also moved up again in price by 3.7%. Year-over-year, most prices are still significantly lower on average by over 23%, led by General Purpose PP which is down by over 34%. One notable exception is PET which is up in price by over 9% year-over-year.

Most Engineering Grade Plastic prices continued to drop in price in October by about 3% except ABS & POM were unchanged from September. Year-over-year price for all engineering resins are down in price on average by over 11%, except ABS which is up slightly (less than 1%).

Rubber prices also showed favorable movement in October down in price on average by 6%. And all prices remain well below last year’s levels by 14%-27%.

Carbon Steel prices continued the strongly favorable trend in October, with prices down another 3% on average. Year-over-year prices Carbon Steel is significantly lower in price by 30%-40%.

Stainless Steel prices also moved lower again in October except 304 grade which remained unchanged. Year-over-year Stainless Steel prices were lower by 14% on average compared with one year ago, except 410 grade which bucks the trend, up by over 12%.

Aluminum prices dropped by over 8% in October and year-over-year prices remain lower by over 20% on average.

In other metals, October saw Zinc, Copper & Nickel reverse the recent downward trend by shooting up close to 2% on average, while Brass dropped slightly. Year-over-year, Brass, Copper & Nickel all remain well below last year’s levels by 20% on average, while Zinc is up fractionally versus one year ago.

Wood prices were unchanged in October, however, year-over-year, prices are down on average by over 2.2% .

All Paper prices remained flat trends in October while year-over-year, prices are mixed with Kraft & Gray Cardboard higher by about 3%-6%, while Corrugated, White Cardboard & Art Paper are all lower by 1%-2%.

In Textile Fabrics only Cotton saw a change in price, down by a fraction in October bringing its year-over-year price change to 10% lower. Most other textile fabrics were unchanged in October and remain down in price by over 5% on average versus one year ago.

In Ceramics Raw Materials prices, only Alumina saw a change, down in price by over 3%. Year over year, prices are mixed with Feldspar, Kaolin & Alumina down in price on average by over 7%, while Quartz is up by over 7%.

Asian labor rates were stable in October, while, year-over-year, Thai and Bangladesh rates are unchanged while China Labor rates are up over 10% versus one year ago.

China Petroleum Price & China Diesel Oil prices were favorable in October down in price by 5% on average, while Natural Gas was flat and LPG Gas was up by a almost 3%.  Year-over-year, all fuel prices are significantly lower in price by 33% on average.

Ocean Freight rates remained unchanged in October but year-over-year freight rates are up by over 7% to the west coast and 10% to the east coast.

Most Asian Currencies were slightly stronger against the US Dollar in October except the Bangladesh Taka & Vietnam Dong. But year-over-year, all Asian Currencies were weaker against the US Dollar by over 5% on average.

As for PMI, the China Purchasing Managers Index stayed at 49.8 again in October while the HK China Purchasing Managers Index moved up slightly from 47.2 to 48.3 (signaling a contracting economy), meanwhile the USA Purchasing Managers Index likewise moved lower slightly from 50.2 to 50.1 but stayed above the all-important 50 benchmark.

China Imports & Exports rose by 6.3% & 4.4% respectively in September while year-over-year, Imports and Exports declined by 20.5% & 3.8% respectively. (data lags by one month).

The China Producer Price Index (PPI) was unchanged in September while the China Consumer Price Index (CPI) was down by a fraction. (data lags by one month).  For the year, the PPI is down by 4.2% while the CPI is unchanged.

For additional details, please refer to the charts that follow or contact one our Operations Specialists for more information.

Source Int’l Mfg Cost Drivers Report-October, 2015

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