This Morning in Metals: US economy grows 6.4% in Q1 2021

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This morning in metals news: US real GDP grew at an annual rate of 6.4% in Q1 2021; meanwhile, U.S. Steel reported its Q1 financial results; and, lastly, Intel cited the “explosive growth” in semiconductors in its Q1 2021 financial report.

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US GDP grows 6.4% in Q1

US GDP

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US GDP grew at an annual rate of 6.4% in Q1 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported this week.

Real GDP had increased by 4.3% in Q4 2020. After GDP plunged a record 33% in Q2 2020, GDP has increased each of the past three quarters.

“The increase in first quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery, reopening of establishments, and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the BEA said in its report. “In the first quarter, government assistance payments, such as direct economic impact payments, expanded unemployment benefits, and Paycheck Protection Program loans, were distributed to households and businesses through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.”

Personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending paced the Q1 rise, the BEA added.

In addition, increases in durable goods (led by motor vehicles and parts), nondurable goods, and services paced the rise in PCE.

U.S. Steel reports Q1 earnings

U.S. Steel on Thursday reported Q1 2021 net earnings of $91 million.

Meanwhile, the steelmaker reported a net loss of $391 million in Q1 2020.

“Our first quarter adjusted EBITDA of $551 million reflects robust customer demand and purposeful management actions that are delivering strong results,” President and CEO David B. Burritt said.

Like other steelmakers, U.S. Steel has benefited from rising steel prices.

For its flat rolled segment, the company reported average realized prices of $888 per net ton in Q1 2021, up from $711 per net ton in Q1 2020.

Furthermore, U.S. Steel Europe reported an average of $748 per net ton in Q1 2021. The average jumped from $611 per net ton in Q1 2020.

Intel optimistic on ‘explosive’ growth in semiconductors

The ongoing semiconductor shortage is a problem hampering automotive operations, as we’ve reported here in recent months.

Chip maker Intel, in its Q1 2021 financial report, expressed optimism regarding what it called “explosive” growth in semiconductors.

“This is a pivotal year for Intel,” CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a release. “We are setting our strategic foundation and investing to accelerate our trajectory and capitalize on the explosive growth in semiconductors that power our increasingly digital world.”

Meanwhile, Intel reported Q1 2021 net income of $3.4 billion, down from $5.7 billion in Q1 2020.

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