This morning in metals news: OPEC held its 23rd ministerial meeting today amid falling oil prices; meanwhile, the United States International Trade Commission issued a ruling on import relief for the domestic crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell sector; and, lastly, the trade ministers of the U.S., Japan and the E.U. convened this week.
Rising oil prices have been yet another strain on consumers, whether commercial users or everyday motorists at the pump. Oil prices are also a key factor in MetalMiner’s commodity trends analysis.
In the U.S., pre-Thanksgiving gasoline prices reached their highest level this year since 2012.
However, oil prices this past week have lost ground quickly. The WTI crude price, for example, closed Wednesday at $65.57 per barrel, down $12.82 per barrel from the previous week, the Energy Information Administration reported.
OPEC, meanwhile, convened via videoconference today for its 23rd ministerial meeting, during which it agreed to maintain previously agreed output schedules. The group agreed to “reconfirm the production adjustment plan and the monthly production adjustment mechanism approved at the 19th ONOMM and the decision to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.4 mb/d for the month of January 2022, as per the attached schedule.”
USITC votes on import relief for PV cell makers
United States International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to keep import relief measures in place for domestic producers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.
Chilean copper producer Codelco, the world’s largest, indicated it could see copper prices coming down in 2022.
According to a Reuters report, Codelco CEO Octavio Araneda said prices in 2022 will likely come in slightly lower than in 2021.
As we’ve noted recently, MetalMiner is hosting its final webinar of the year on Wednesday, Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will overview price predictions for metals in 2022. Those interested in participating in the session can sign up on the MetalMiner Events page.
The price fell back to close the month, however, closing October at $9,490 per metric ton.
Since then, the copper price has trended sideways.
From a technical perspective, LME copper trading volumes reached a November high of 145,635 as of Nov. 2. Volumes fell as low as 69,991 on Nov. 25, during which prices surged briefly and approached MetalMiner resistance levels.
However, the stronger the trading volume, the greater the significance of a corresponding price movement (and vice versa). As such, after jumping to just under $9,900 per metric ton Nov. 25, the price retreated.
LME three-month copper closed the month at $9,510 per metric ton.
This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel capacity utilization rate fell to 83.2% last week; North American Stainless maintained its stainless steel fuel surcharge; and, lastly, crude oil prices have lost steam this week.
Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. The MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022 during its final webinar of the year, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8.
US steel capacity utilization rate hits 83.2%
The U.S. steel capacity utilization rate fell to 83.2% for the week ending Nov. 27, down from 84.3% the previous week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.
Steel output last week totaled 1.84 million net tons. The total marked a 1.3% decline from the previous week but a 13.3% year-over-year gain.
For the year to date, production reached 86.3 million net tons, or up 19.7% year over year.
U.S. steel prices have finally started to soften. U.S. HRC closed last week at $1,793 per short ton, according to MetalMiner Insights data, or down 5.6% month over month. Meanwhile, U.S. CRC closed at $2,111, down 0.3% month over month.
However, perhaps to some aluminum buyers’ relief, some supply is coming back online next year.
Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Sign up for the last session of the year, scheduled for Wednesday Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022.
Alcoa to restart idled smelter
Alcoa Corporation earlier this month announced plans to restart an aluminum smelter that had sat idle since 2009.
The firm said it will restart the joint venture Portland Aluminium smelter in Australia, which has a total annual capacity of 358,000 metric tons per year.
However, Alcoa said it plans to restart 35,000 metric tons of capacity.
“Portland Aluminium is an unincorporated joint venture with 358,000 mtpy of total capacity, and Alcoa Corporation has 197,000 mtpy of consolidated capacity,” Alcoa said. “Once the restart is complete, Portland Aluminium will operate at approximately 95 percent of total capacity and Alcoa Corporation will have approximately 186,000 mtpy of its consolidated capacity at Portland operating.”
Renewed production at the Australian smelter is slated to begin in Q3 2022.
In September, Alcoa announced plans to restart its Alumar aluminum smelter in Brazil. The smelter, which has annual capacity of 268,000 metric tons per year, has been idle since 2015.
“The aluminum market is undeniably tight, as consumers are having to wait months for metal and the Midwest Premium rises,” Burns wrote back in March. “In some locations — Europe, in particular — consumers of rolled plate cannot secure new production space until well into Q3.
“Some mills have even pulled out of quoting for new business customers in 2021. Anti-dumping legislation on flat rolled products from China and a fire last year at a Russian rolling mill have combined dramatically restrict supply options for consumers.”
Fast forward to Q4, and inventories in LME depots have continued to dwindle, Burns explained while also covering the background of the post-financial crisis aluminum market and the history of the so-called “stock and finance” trade and the shadowy world of off-warrant stocks.
However, the Midwest aluminum premium has lost some steam over the last couple of months. according to MetalMiner Insights data.
This morning in metals news: General Motors announced it had purchased a stake in Pure Watercraft, a firm specializing in “all-electric boating solutions”; aluminum prices ticked up ahead of Thanksgiving; and, lastly, Thyssenkrupp commissioned its 35th EnviNOx® system, which reduces nitrous oxide emissions.
When it comes to the automotive space and electrification, we typically focus on EVs that operate on land.
However, automaker General Motors recently announced it had purchased a stake in Pure Watercraft, which produces all-electric boating solutions. GM purchased a 25% stake in the Seattle-based firm.
“The collaboration between GM and Pure Watercraft advances a shared vision to promote sustainability through an expansion of zero-emissions mobility for future generations and reflects the holistic approach necessary for widespread EV adoption,” GM said.
While you may be busy putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving spread and, subsequently, taking a turkey-induced nap, you might find some time to revisit this week’s coverage, including oil prices, global crude steel production and much more.
Alexander Raths/Adobe Stock
But first, in case you missed it, MetalMiner is hosting its final monthly webinar of the year at 10:00 a.m. CDT,Wednesday, Dec. 8. Metal buying organizations will not want to miss it, as the MetalMiner team will delve into price predictions for 2022. For more information about the webinar and to sign up, those interested should visit the MetalMiner Events page.
Elsewhere, MetalMiner also recently launched a suite of precious metals within the MetalMiner Insights platform. In addition to gold and silver, the suite includes platinum and palladium (of particular relevance to the automotive sector), plus rhodium, iridium and ruthenium.
Without further ado, here’s a recap of this week’s coverage:
Ford Motor Co. and GlobalFoundriesannounced a partnership to work on semiconductor technology and boost supply for the automaker.
This morning in metals news: U.S. GDP increased by 2.1% in Q3 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in its latest estimate; new home sales increased in October; and, lastly, average U.S. gasoline prices are higher this Thanksgiving holiday than any since 2012.
Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. The final webinar of the year is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will overview predictions for 2022. For more information and to sign up for the webinar, visit the MetalMiner events page.
US GDP up 2.1%
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, U.S. real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in Q3. The figure is the bureau’s second estimate for Q3 GDP.
U.S. GDP increased by 6.7% in Q2 2021.
“The increase in third quarter GDP reflected the continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the BEA reported. “A resurgence of COVID-19 cases resulted in new restrictions and delays in the reopening of establishments in some parts of the country. Government assistance payments in the form of forgivable loans to businesses, grants to state and local governments, and social benefits to households all decreased.”
New home sales tick up in October
New home sales in the U.S. increased by 0.4% in October from the previous month, the Census Bureau reported.
Sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 in October.