This Morning in Metals: US steel capacity utilization rises to 78.7%

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This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization picked up to 78.7% last week; the US Census Bureau reported US goods and services trade figures for March; and Ford released its April sales totals.

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US steel capacity utilization reaches 78.7%

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

US steel capacity utilization for the week ending May 1 reached 78.7%, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The rate increased from 78.4% the week before and from 55.2% during the same week in 2020.

Output last week totaled 1,788,000 net tons, or up 44.4% year over year.

US goods and services deficit rises

The US goods and services trade deficit picked up by $3.9 billion in March from the previous month, reaching $74.4 billion.

March exports came in at a value of $200 billion, up by $12.4 billion from February. However, imports checked in at $274.5 million, up by $16.4 billion.

Ford releases April sales figures

Late last month, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast new-vehicle retail sales were headed for a record April.

This week, Ford reported retail sales in April jumped 57.1% year over year. April retail sales reached 197,813 units.

US retail sales also jumped by 23.7% compared with April 2019 sales.

Truck sales jumped 33.0% year over year. In addition, SUV sales surged by 127.2%.

As Stuart Burns noted yesterday, electric vehicle sales rises, for now, should be viewed with the caveat that they are coming from a relatively low base.

Nonetheless, Ford is among the automakers reporting significant percentage gains in EV sales.

“Ford electrified vehicle sales produced a new all-time monthly sales record – up 262 percent on new product offerings,” the automaker said. “Mustang Mach-E sales totaled 1,951, F-150 PowerBoost sales totaled 3,365, while Escape electrified sales totaled 3,695 in April. Electrified vehicle sales totaled 11,172 – up 262 percent.”

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