Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Copper Prices Continue to Drop

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — May 11, 2009 – Copper futures fell more than 3% Monday, pacing losses in crude oil and stocks, as worries returned that demand from China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, may slow. Gold moved slightly lower.

Copper for July delivery lost 8.15 cents, or 3.8%, to $2.064 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper had gained more than 2% last week.

The decline in copper came after a sharp drop in futures trading in Shanghai. Weighing on sentiment was a 45% jump in Shanghai copper stocks last week to their highest level since the end of March, said analysts led by Alex Heath at RBC Capital Markets.

China’s State Reserves Bureau is believed to have bought more than 300,000 tons of copper since March. But some analysts expected the country’s imports will slow down in the next few months.

"Physical copper premiums were steady across much of Asia last week as supplies in the region eroded, but easing tightness in China hinted that the dragon’s appetite for the metal may be waning," said analysts at RBC Capital.

The State Council also plans to examine the case for further tax changes and more state stockpiling of base metals.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Letter from Victor

My visits to you, colleagues and clients, are always a source for new knowledge and inspiration. While preparing for my recent visits, I was concerned about the feedback that I would get, considering the lingering economic situation.

True, many of you acknowledged that one of our main business partners, pool builders, are suffering from the slowdown in new construction, and some went out of business by now. Obviously this has been a hindrance to all of us starting in late 2007, and more so since the beginning of last year.

It could be easy to demonstrate self pity or express lost motivation, but examples of this were few and far between. What pleasantly surprised me, and gave me reason for excitement and enthusiasm, was the way many of you recognized the new situation and grabbed the bull by the horns, by strategizing in an assortment of ways.

One specific approach drew my attention in a special way: A particular Heliocol dealer realized, early on into the real estate crunch that many of his swimming pool builder allies were working hard to weather the storm, just trying to survive. The dealer relayed having lost new pool construction business and his colleagues were being forced to shrink their expenses by cutting overhead and laying-off employees.

Some were struggling to keep their doors open, operating from job to job, day to day, or check to check. The Heliocol dealer was proactive in his response to the economic conditions and acted early. He decided to increase his business in a decisive way and at the same time demonstrate to his pool builders that he cares about them, through thick and thin. He initiated visits with his pool builders, taking them out to lunch, attending their sales meetings as a guest or a guest speaker, and developing programs to directly enhance their business, thereby enhancing his business. One such program was to initiate and pay for a Heliocol, MyGen, and Solene mailer to all past customers of the pool builders, and offering the Pool Builders an elevated fee for these sales. This type of program and initiative can only increase the business of our Heliocol dealers, increase the income of the pool builders, and demonstrate, most importantly, that we care about them in bad times too, not only when all is hunky dory.

This is a strategy that has short and long term benefits to all. It creates an immediate source of new revenue, but more so, it sends a resonating message to the pool builders that we are always on their side, and we are one unified team. Now, when times get better, hopefully soon, they will remember who was there for them when they needed it most.

In every bad, there is good. Know how to extract the good, focus on what you are good at, and you will benefit. The pool season is upon us in most of the country, and it shows. I wish you continued success and a great solar season.

Victor Eyal
President & CEO
UMA Solar