This Morning in Metals: Per BEA’s latest estimate, U.S. GDP fell 5.0% in Q1

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This morning in metals news, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third estimate vis-á-vis Q1 GDP growth, a power outage impacted Norsk Hydro’s Paragominas operation in Brazil and gold prices have surged to an eight-year high.

BEA: U.S. GDP down 5.0% in Q1

According to the BEA’s latest estimate, U.S. GDP declined by 5.0% in the first quarter of the year.

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“The decline in first quarter GDP reflected the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued ‘stay-at-home’ orders in March,” the BEA reported. “This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.”

Hydro’s Paragominas, Alunorte impacted by power outages

Norsk Hydro’s Paragominas bauxite mine and Alunorte operation were disrupted earlier this week when three power transmission towers overturned, Hydro reported.

Power supply to the Paragominas mine was disrupted and, as a result, operations at the mine were temporarily suspended.

Production at the Alunorte alumina refinery, meanwhile, will be reduced to between 50-70% capacity to balance bauxite inventories, Hydro said.

Gold gains amid coronavirus surge

With new coronavirus cases hitting a single-day high in the U.S. on Wednesday and stock markets taking losses, gold has continued to become more and more attractive to investors.

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Appetite for the traditional safe-haven asset has continued to rise, as the price has recently surged to levels last seen in 2012. The gold price closed Wednesday at $1,761.30/ounce.

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