This Morning in Metals: Rio Tinto iron ore shipments rise 2% in Q4 2020

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto’s iron ore shipments rose 2% year over year in Q4 2020; the Energy Information Administration forecast 2021 will see less power generation from natural gas this year; after rising during the first week of 2021, the LME three-month aluminum price has since been sliding.

Rio Tinto reports rise in iron ore shipments

Miner Rio Tinto released its Q4 2020 production results, reporting iron ore shipments rose 2% year over year. Iron ore shipments also jumped 8% compared with the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, iron ore production rose 3% year over year.

The miner’s aluminum production jumped 4% year over year. In addition, bauxite production fell 12% year over year.

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EIA forecasts less power generation from natural gas in 2021

Meanwhile, in energy news, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast power generation from natural gas in the U.S. will decline this year.

The EIA forecast the decline will be about 8% this year.

“This decline would be the first annual decline in natural gas-fired generation since 2017,” the EIA reported. “Forecast generation from coal-fired power plants will increase by 14% in 2021, after declining by 20% in 2020. EIA forecasts that generation from nonhydropower renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, will grow by 18% in 2021—the fastest annual growth rate since 2010.”

Aluminum prices retrace

Most metals enjoyed an extended run of price momentum throughout the second half of 2020.

Aluminum continued that run over the early days of 2021 but has reversed course over the last two weeks.

The LME three-month aluminum price closed Monday at $1,984 per metric ton. The price is down 2.79% from the previous month.

Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted aluminum price. It’s more important to spot the trend. See why.

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