This Morning in Metals: August 2020 steel shipments fall 22.9%

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This morning in metals news: August 2020 steel shipments by U.S. steel mills fell 22.9% year over year; Norsk Hydro announced the termination of a memorandum of understanding; and, finally, the copper price made mid-week gains.

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August 2020 steel shipments

August 2020 steel shipments from U.S. mills fell by 22.9% on a year-over-year basis, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

U.S. steel mills shipped 6.5 million net tons in August. The August total, however, marked an 8.2% increase from the previous month.

Furthermore, in the year to date, U.S. steel shipments reached 53.8 million net tons, down 17.0% compared with the first eight months of 2019.

Norsk Hydro terminates MOU

Norsk Hydro recently announced the termination of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Golar Power and CELBA.

The MOU included Hydro’s alumina refinery Alunorte, Golar Power Brasil Participações and Centrais Elétricas Barcarena (CELBA), with the ultimate goal of bringing liquified natural gas (LNG) to Hydro’s Alunorte refinery in Brazil.

The parties signed the MOU in July 2020.

“Hydro is committed to pursue natural gas as an energy source for the Alunorte refinery and will continue discussions with interested parties,” Hydro said in a release.

Copper price up on supply worries

Lastly, concerns regarding potential supply disruption in No. 1 copper producer Chile spurred a bump in the copper price Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The LME three-month copper price rose 0.4% to $6,715.50 per metric ton, according to Reuters.

As for supply concerns, Reuters reported BHP extended labor negotiations at the Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper deposit.

Earlier this week, MetalMiner’s Maria Rosa Gobitz touched on the potential for a labor stoppage at the massive mine.

“Escondida, the largest copper mine in the world, is also in negotiations with its labor unions,” she wrote. “Back in 2017, Escondida had a 43-day strike; at the time, the mine accounted for 5% of global supply.”

The copper price had been on a tear since March. However, the LME copper price fell 2.1% month over month from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.

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