This Morning in Metals: Ford announces global battery center dubbed Ford Ion Park

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Tobias Arhelger/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: Ford Motor Co. announced its new global battery center called Ford Ion Park; meanwhile, OPEC nations met via teleconference on Tuesday; and, lastly, the US goods trade deficit rose by 4% in March.

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Ford aims to accelerate battery R&D with Ford Ion Park

On Tuesday, automaker Ford announced a new global battery center dedicated to battery research and development.

“Ford Ion Park will use state-of-the-art equipment to pilot new manufacturing techniques that will allow Ford to quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials once the company vertically integrates battery cells and batteries,” Ford said in a release.

Ford Ion Park is located in southeast Michigan, where a team has already been working. The facility includes a $185 million collaborate learning lab, which will open late next year, Ford said. Work at the lab will include developing, testing and building vehicle battery cells and cell arrays.

The move is illustrative of increasing competitiveness in the electric vehicle space. Legacy automakers, like Ford, are pouring significant resources into electrification and closing the gap with Tesla. General Motors, for example, has said it plans to offer 30 new electric vehicle models by 2025.

Oil-producing nations meet for 16th Ministerial Meeting

OPEC and non-OPEC nations met this week for the 16th Ministerial Meeting of the Declaration of Cooperation.

“The Meeting highlighted the continuing recovery in the global economy, supported by unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal support, while noting that the recovery is expected to pick up speed in the second half of the year,” OPEC said in a post-meeting summary. “The Ministerial Meeting emphasized, however, that COVID-19 cases are rising in a number of countries, despite the ongoing vaccination campaigns, and that the resurgence could hamper the economic and oil demand recovery.”

The summary also noted Saudi Arabia’s previously announced output cut of 1 million barrels per day. There will be a “gradual return” of that volume in May, June and July 2021, “given the prevailing uncertainties surrounding the pace of the oil demand recovery.”

US trade deficit rises in March

The US trade deficit for goods reached $90.4 billion in March, the US Census Bureau reported today.

Furthermore, the deficit marked a 4.0% increase from the previous month.

In addition, exports rose by a value of $11.4 billion, while imports rose by $14.9 billion.

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