The aftermath of tornadoes ripping through Birmingham, Ala. Source: AP
The events of the last week prove how powerful weather can be and how it affects all ends of the metals industry. No, we’re not talking about another Japanese tsunami or Australian flood. This hits much closer to home.
Severe storms and tornadoes swept throughout the Southern US, with at more than 300 lives lost and hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed. Tornadoes hit Alabama the hardest, and the state’s governor told the AP before the weekend that roughly one million people are without power. Although several reports have been indicating progress in getting electricity back online, many plants, distributors and other industrial operations are still slow to get back to any kind of meaningful production. By and large, employees of steel and other metals companies were reported safe, although AMM reported one Hanna Steel Tube worker killed at his home. Cliffs Natural Resources suspended production at the Oak Grove coal mine (which is now back up and running; see comment below), and power to the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama was cut, leading the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to determine a ten-year low in nuclear power output in the US.
The aftermath of these storms may cause quite an order backlog, and supply as a result could dwindle slightly. Will this make for higher domestic prices? Will demand be met for certain metals? Only time will tell this week as the large-scale recovery continues to unfold.
MetalMiner and Spend Matters wish the entire Southern metals industry, their families and their customers, as well as everyone else in the South that has been touched by the storms or lost loved ones, a speedy recovery and reconstruction process. Check back in with MetalMiner as we track any future fallout in metals production and prices as a result of these tragic events.