This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization rises to 84.6%

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel capacity utilization rate rose further to 84.6% last week; miner BHP announced a nickel supply agreement with Tesla; and, lastly, crude oil imports have been on the rise over the last four weeks.

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Steel capacity utilization hits 84.6%

steel shipment

Hor/Adobe Stock

Steel capacity utilization in the U.S. steel sector reached 84.6% for the week ending July 24, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The rate increased from 84.1% the previous week and from 60.3% during the same week in 2020.

Steel production during the week ending July 24 totaled 1.87 million net tons, or up 0.5% from the previous week. Furthermore, output increased 38.4% on a year-over-year basis.

BHP announces nickel supply deal with Tesla

Miner BHP announced a new nickel supply deal with electric vehicle maker Tesla.

BHP will supply the EV maker with nickel from its Nickel West asset in Western Australia.

“Demand for nickel in batteries is estimated to grow by over 500 per cent over the next decade, in large part to support the world’s rising demand for electric vehicles,” BHP Chief Commercial Officer Vandita Pant said.

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Tesla Inc., and to collaborate with them on ways to make the battery supply chain more sustainable through our shared focus on technology and innovation.”

Crude oil imports on the rise

Crude oil imports averaged 6.4 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, the Energy Information Administration reported.

The average total marked a 2.9% increase from the average during the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, crude oil inventories for the week ending July 16 rose by 2.1 million barrels from the previous week to 439.7 million barrels. The inventory level is down 7% from the five-year average for this time of year.

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