Manufacturing Cost Drivers Report For Q1 2021


Tracking The Trends Which Drive Costs In Asian Manufacturing

Executive Summary

The commodity price trends in the first quarter were increased in Asia. Most of grades were increased in Plastic, Rubber, Steel, Alum, Metals, Paper, and Freight. Only Fuel was down in price in this quarter, US Dollar was only up 0.79% of the CNY than last quarter. Textiles and Ceramic were mostly flat in price. The trend for World Container Index was increased in Q1 by 26.2%. Both China imports and exports were decreased by 13.32% and 23.58% than three months ago. The China CPI was almost kept flat in Q1. The China PMI indexes were kept flat in Q1, the US PMI was up by 6.59% in Q1. Below is a chart of the general trends and for all the details, please see the entire report.

Manufacturing Cost Drivers

Report Details


– Most General plastic prices were up in Mar., except PVC(S700) was down 3.13% and PS (688B) was down 1.01%. Year over year, most of general plastic prices were up on average of 25.35%, PE(LD400) was up 78%, Chi Mei PH88 was up 51.49%, PVC(S700) was up 55% than last year.

Genral Plastic

-Generally, the engineering plastic prices were most up in Mar. than one month ago. PC (L-1250Y) was up 8.7%, PA6 (1013B) was up 13.16%, Nylon (PA66) was up 5.67%. Year over year, ABS (PA-757K) increased 55.37%, and PA6 (1013B) increased 10.26%.
Engineering Plastic

– For the Rubber prices in Q1, most of them were increased. Polybutadiene Rubber (BR9000) was up 30.48%, Natural Rubber (SCR5) was down by 15.24% than last month, however it increased 4.51%. EPDM Rubber was greatly up 18.18% and 50.29% up than last quarter. Year over year, Polybutadiene Rubber (BR9000) was up 65.06%, Natural Rubber (SCR5) and EPDM Rubber were up by 41.84% and 85.71%.



– For the first quarter of 2021, the prices for most of Carbon Steel were up. Cold Roll Steel Sheet was up 3.06% in Mar., Hot Rolled Steel Plate increased 7.27%, and Steel Wire was up 3.67%. Pig Iron was down 1.26% however it increased 7.67% than last quarter. Year over year, most of carbon steels in prices were up on the average 35.23% versus one year ago.


– In the Stainless Steel part, most of the grades of prices were up in the first quarter by average 6.65%, even though they were down average 2.33% in Mar. than last month. Year over year, 430 up 38.62%, 304 up 24.19%, 410 up 40.26%, 201 up 23.61%, and 420 up 26.09% versus one year ago.

Stainless Steel

– The aluminum prices were up on the average of 6.18% in the first quarter. Year over year, all aluminum prices increase on the average 38.40% as well versus one year ago. A00 was up 49.45%, 1060 was up 40.55%, 3003 was up41.90%, 6061 was up 40.84% and A380 was up 29.68%.


– In other Industrial Metals, the trend was up in Q1, average up 6.07%. However Zinc Alloy decreased 1.03% than last month. Year over year, the average up 54.42% versus one year ago, Brass rod increased 86.09%, Copper increased 70.23%, Zinc Alloy increased 39.18% and Nickel increased 34.24%.
Industrial Metal


– Wood prices were steady in Q1.Year over year, MDF and Fir were kept flat, Beech wood was down 0.62%. However, the White Oak was up 4.75% versus one year ago.


– All of the prices of Paper Materials were up in Q1, by average 17.06%. Gray Cardboard was up 25.91%, White Cardboard was up 21.77% and Corrugated and Art Paper were up more than 17%. Year over year, Paper Materials were up by average 23.24% versus one year ago.


– Textile fabric prices were mostly unchanged in the first quarter, except Raw Cotton in price was up 3.16% than last quarter but down back 7.04% than Feb. Polyester (Fuzhou) was up 29.86% in this quarter. Year over year, Raw Cotton was up 34.65%, and Polyester (Fuzhou) was up 35.66% versus one year ago.
Textile Fabric


-In Ceramic and Glass Raw Materials, most of the materials were kept steady in Q1. However, Soda Ash obviously increased 29.03%. Year over year, Soda Ash was up 17.65% versus one year ago.
Ceramic Glass


Fuel prices in China were decreased in this Q1, with Petroleum Price was down 4.45%, Natural Gas price was down 4.11% and LGP gas was down 2.51%. However, year over year, the trend for the grades were up in prices on average 49.55% versus one year ago.


The World Container Index was up 26.19% in the first quarter. Year over year, the World Container Index was up 207% versus one year ago.


Most of the Asian labor rates were unchanged in Q1. Year over year, India and Indonesia were up 22.54%, 3.27% respectively.


For the first quarter, the USD was strengthened against by average 1.67%, to against the CNY by 0.79% up than last quarter, against INR 1.47% and THB 4.86%. Year over year, the USD was weakened against the CNY 7.25%, against IDR by 11.27%.

CHINA TRADE (Data lags by one month)

– China Imports was down 13.32% than last quarter and at the same time, China Exports was down 23.58% in the first quarter. Year over year, China Imports increased 11.41% and Exports increased 39.88% versus one year ago.

– The China Consumer Price Index (CPI) was only up 0.3%. And China Producer Price Index (PPI) increased greatly by 213.33% in the first quarter. Year over year, the China CPI was down 5.13% and China PPI was up 525% versus one year ago.


The PMI China was kept flat in this quarter, and PMI Hong Kong was down 4.53%. PMI US was up obviously by 6.59% in Q1. Year over year, PMI China was down 0.19% and Hong Kong was up 1%, PMI US was up 31.77% versus one year ago.


Thank you for taking the time to follow trends in Asia manufacturing. Source International has operational offices in Louisville, Kentucky & Xiamen, China. Our passion is to partner with companies in supply management from Asia. We have a 27 year on-the-ground track record, a rigorous operating procedure, and a very well trained local staff. We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can add value to your supply chain in Asia and invite you to visit our offices and website to learn more about us.

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

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Data for this report comes from the sources listed and while every attempt is made to be as comprehensive and accurate as possible, please consider that these are just general trends and you should not draw any specific conclusions from the data. We recommend that any information provided in this report be weighed against other sources and experts on the individual topics covered and\, accordingly, we make no specific claims nor assume any liability from the use of the data contained herein.

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