This Morning in Metals: Biden administration releases 100-day supply chain review

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This morning in metals news: the Biden administration today released a 250-page report detailing the findings of its 100-day supply chain review; meanwhile, the US steel capacity utilization rate ticked up to 82.3%; and, lastly, the U.S. goods and services deficit fell in April compared with the previous month.

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Biden administration releases 100-day supply chain review

supply chain chart

cacaroot/Adobe Stock

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for 100-day reviews of critical U.S. supply chains. The reviews in question included those for things like critical minerals, semiconductors and high-capacity batteries.

The 100-day period has come and gone. Today, the administration released a 250-page report detailing its findings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic dislocation revealed long-standing vulnerabilities in our supply chains,” the report’s introduction states. “The pandemic’s drastic impacts on demand patterns for a range of medical products including essential medicines wreaked havoc on the U.S. healthcare system. As the world shifted to work and learn from home, it created a global semiconductor chip shortage impacting automotive, industrial, and communications products, among others.”

In addition to its deeper analysis, the report included six broad recommendations for strengthening U.S. supply chains:

  1. Rebuild production and innovation capabilities
  2. Support the development of markets with high road production models, labor standards, and product quality
  3. Leverage the government’s role as a market actor
  4. Strengthen international trade rules, including trade enforcement mechanisms
  5. Work with allies and partners to decrease vulnerabilities in the global supply chains
  6. Partner with industry to take immediate action to address existing shortages

“Today’s report takes the first critical step to address both issues, by first providing a comprehensive review of the risks and vulnerabilities in the semiconductor supply chain and laying out a plan to advance long-term U.S. leadership in production and innovation in the semiconductor industry,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a separate statement. “We have also been working closely with industry to mitigate the immediate shortage through investments, transparency, and collaboration.

“We know government alone cannot fix this problem. The private sector plays a central role in addressing this crisis, and the Department of Commerce will redouble its engagement with industry to facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers, suppliers and end-users.”

US steel capacity utilization hits 82.3%

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate inched up to 82.3% last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

The rate increased from 81.5% the previous week and from 56.2% during the same week in 2020.

Production last week totaled 1.84 million net tons, marking an increase of 46.3% year over year.

Goods and services deficit drops in April

Meanwhile, the U.S. goods and services deficit fell to $68.9 billion in April from $75.0 billion in March, the Census Bureau reported.

In addition, April exports totaled a value of $205.0 billion, up $2.3 billion from March. Furthermore, April imports totaled $273.9 billion, down $3.8 billion from March.

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