The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) jumped by 8.1% for this month’s value, as US auto sales showed strength in April.
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US auto sales continue to show strength
Automakers posted solid US sales results in April, even as the ongoing semiconductor shortage continues to hamper automotive operations.
Ford Motor Co. 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%.
In addition, Ford EV sales jumped by 262%.
Honda sales surged by 171% in April, reaching 156,482 units sold. Honda car sales rose by 125.1%, while truck sales rose by 207.5%.
Today, GM also reported its Q1 financial results, posting $3 billion in net income.
“General Motors Co. today reported first-quarter earnings driven by strong price and mix performance in North America, strong credit and residual value performance at GM Financial, and the industry recovery in China,” GM reported. “The company is highly confident in its full-year 2021 guidance outlined earlier this year as it works to manage through the semiconductor shortage, which is impacting automakers globally.”
April forecast to reach record sales
As we noted late last month, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive had forecast US automotive sales in April were set to hit a record for the month.
They forecast new-vehicle retail sales in April to reach 1,325,500 units. Trucks and SUVs were expected to account for 76.1% of those sales. When adjusted for selling days, that sales figure marks an 110.6% increase.
Meanwhile, the April sales forecast also marked a 20.8% increase compared with April 2019 sales.
The intelligence firms projected 1,479,800 units in total new sales. That would mark an increase of 107.1% from April 2020. When compared with April 2019, it is a 7.8% jump when adjusted for selling days.
The record month comes despite low inventory, according to Thomas King, president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division.
“Despite low inventory, April 2021 will be another record-breaking month for the U.S. auto industry,” King said in this month’s forecast report. “Building on the strength that began in Q4 2020 and continued through Q1 2021, the industry will set records for April sales volumes, transaction prices, consumer expenditure and retailer profitability.”
China auto sales
Auto sales in China continue to surge. Sales reached 2.53 million vehicles in March, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reported last month.
Through the first three months of the year, sales totaled 6.48 million vehicles. The quarterly total increased by 75.6% year over year.
Car sales in the quarter rose by 73.7% year over year. Meanwhile, SUV sales jumped by 79.6%.
Electric cars and critical mineral supply
Nations have set climate goals that will require massive changes from industry, the average consumer and beyond.
From the source (i.e., power generation) to manufacturing all sorts of products, including electric vehicles, demand for things like copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt and a variety of critical minerals will only continue to increase.
As a result, that reality is leaving some to sound the alarm over supply for the raw materials that are to fuel the “green” revolution.
The International Energy Agency today released a report on the issue titled “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions.”
“Today, the data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals that are essential to realising those ambitions,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “The challenges are not insurmountable, but governments must give clear signals about how they plan to turn their climate pledges into action. By acting now and acting together, they can significantly reduce the risks of price volatility and supply disruptions.”
Actual metals prices and trends
The US HDG price rose by 7.4% to $1,694 per short ton as of May 1.
LME three-month copper jumped by 12.4% to $9,940 per metric ton. The US shredded scrap steel price fell 1.6% to $436 per short ton.
The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium rose by 6.2% to $3.77 per kilogram.
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