Factors that affect the price of sheet metal include the cost of materials, the state of the market and the manufacturing processes used to create the product. Cost of materials is one of the most significant factors, as different metal ores have different costs. Because metals are commodities and traded on national commodities exchanges, many sheet metal types have prices that vary considerably from day to day.
The cost of materials for a type of sheet metal represents the cost of either raw metal bought from mills or metal ores if a company manufactures both raw metal and finished products. Cost of materials can also include recovered scrap for easily recycled metals and alloys such as steel and copper. A sheet metal's material cost stems primarily from the type of metal use in its manufacture. Material costs also vary for products such as sheet steel, which have numerous different alloys.
Market factors can have a large impact on sheet metal costs. Typical market factors include trading trends in commodities markets, as well as traditional market factors such as supply and demand. For instance, aluminum and titanium prices can skyrocket if supply slumps while demand from aerospace companies increases.
Manufacturing process can also influence sheet metal prices. This factor is particularly important for steel, where manufacturers produce both hot-rolled and cold-rolled sheets. Hot-rolled sheets are less expensive but have a rougher appearance, while cold-rolled sheets are pricier with a more attractive finish.