This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization rises; Hydro inks energy deal; aluminum prices skyrocket

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel capacity utilization rate rose to 85.3% for the week ending Sept. 11; Norsk Hydro signed an energy deal; and, lastly, aluminum prices have continued to skyrocket.

Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted aluminum price. It’s more important to spot the trend. See why.

Steel capacity utilization rises to 85.3%

steelmaking in an EAF

nikitos77/Adobe Stock

The U.S. steel capacity utilization rate picked up to 85.3% for the week ending Sept. 11, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

U.S. steel production during the week totaled 1.88 million net tons. Production for the week rose by 0.9% from the previous week. Furthermore, output jumped by 22.4% year over year.

For the year to date, production totaled 65.8 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.8%.

Hydro signs natural gas deal

Oslo-based Norsk Hydro said it had signed a 15-year deal for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.

Hydro signed the supply deal with New Fortress Energy.

“The fuel-switch project at Alunorte alumina refinery aims to replace the refinery’s energy sources and reduce CO2 emissions,” Norsk Hydro said. “That initiative is part of Hydro’s climate strategy and global commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

“It is expected that NFE will supply Hydro Alunorte with 29.5 TBtu of natural gas annually from NFE’s Barcarena LNG receiving and regasification terminal located in the state of Pará, Brazil.”

Aluminum prices surge

The price of aluminum has skyrocketed over the last month, rising from already elevated levels.

The LME three-month aluminum price closed Monday at $2,950 per metric ton. The price has jumped by 13.81% over the last month.

Part of the rise is due to the coup in Guinea. The West African nation is the second-largest producer of the bauxite ore used in the production of aluminum.

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