Author Archives: Fouad Egbaria

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including stainless steel consumption’s impact on nickel prices, surging aluminum prices and much more:

stainless steel rods

selenserger/Adobe Stock

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Week of Sept. 13-17 (stainless steel drives nickel, aluminum prices rise and more)

More MetalMiner is available on LinkedIn.

This morning in metals news: U.S. Steel released its third-quarter guidance yesterday; U.S. petroleum exports just edged out imports in the first half of the year; and, lastly, unemployment rates fell in 15 U.S. states in August.

You want more MetalMiner on your terms. Sign up for weekly email updates here.

U.S. Steel releases Q3 guidance

U.S. Steel logo

Игорь Головнёв/Adobe Stockk

On Thursday, U.S. Steel released its Q3 2021 financial guidance, forecasting EBITDA of $2.0 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the second quarter.

“We expect the third quarter to be a quarter of records for U. S. Steel,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt said. “Supported by strong reliability and quality performance, sustained customer demand, and continued increases in steel selling prices, we expect our Best for All℠ business model to generate record quarterly adjusted EBITDA and EBITDA margins, demonstrating the power of our strategy.”

Burritt added U.S. Steel is bullish that market fundamentals “will support a stronger for longer steel market.”

Higher steel prices into adjusted contracts and spot selling prices, plus strong customer demand, will contribute to record EBITDA in the company’s flat-rolled segment, the guidance report indicated.

Read more

The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat for this month’s reading.

September 2021 Renewables MMI chart

(Editor’s note: This report also includes the MMI for grain-oriented electrical steel, or GOES.)

Get social with us. Follow MetalMiner on LinkedIn.

LG Energy Solution signs cobalt, nickel access deal

Last month, LG Energy Solution announced it had signed an agreement that will give it access to nickel and cobalt supply from Australian Mines Ltd.

“LG Energy Solution has secured 100% rights to battery-grade nickel and cobalt materials from Australian Mines Limited amid growing concerns about future supplies of raw materials,” LG said.

“LG Energy Solution announced Monday it has entered into a binding long form offtake agreement with Australian Mines Ltd. for nickel and cobalt, which will be supplied in the form of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MPH) from the Sconi Project in North Queensland.”

The battery maker will have access to 71,000 tonnes of nickel for six years starting from the end of 2024. For cobalt, the total is 7,000 tonnes.

LG said the supply of nickel and cobalt will allow it to manufacture batteries for 1.3 million “high-performance electric vehicles.”

The battery materials will come from Australian Mines’ Sconi Project, which is currently under development.

Read more

This morning in metals news: U.S. import prices declined by 0.4% in August; the Energy Information Administration surveyed the disruption to electricity customers as a result of Hurricane Ida; and, lastly, the European Steel Association commented on the European Union’s proposed Green Deal.

Stay up to date on MetalMiner with weekly updates – without the sales pitch. Sign up now.

US import prices fall

imports

nattanan726/Adobe Stock

Running against the recent trend, U.S. import prices fell by 0.4%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Import prices had jumped by 0.4% in July and 1.1% in June.

“The August downturn was led by lower fuel and nonfuel prices,” the BLS reported. “In contrast, prices for U.S. exports advanced 0.4 percent in August, after increasing 1.1 percent in July.”

Hurricane Ida impact on electricity customers

After Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans in late August, many were left without power.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the storm caused at least 1.2 million electricity customers to lose power. The outages spread out over eight states.

Read more

The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell by 4.2% for this month’s reading, as the gold price took losses early in the month before bouncing back.

September 2021 Global Precious MMI

More MetalMiner is available on LinkedIn.

Gold price recovers

gold price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

The gold price bounced back after falling to around $1,730 per ounce in early August.

From there, the U.S. gold bullion price rose to $1,815 by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar, which typically has an inverse correlation with gold, picked up in the first two-thirds of the month. The dollar index peaked at 93.57 on Aug. 19 before retracing, closing the month at 92.63.

In other relevant indicators, 30-year Treasury bond yield rates opened August at 1.86% and climbed to a high of 2.03% on Aug. 12 before retreating. The 30-year yield rate closed the month at 1.92%.

Thus far in September, the 30-year yield has continued to retreat, closing Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 1.85%.

Meanwhile, the 10-year yield opened August at 1.20% before closing the month at 1.30%.

Read more

The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped 8.5% for this month’s reading.

September 2021 Rare Earths MMI chart

 

Want MetalMiner directly in your inbox? Sign up for weekly updates now.

Lynas updates on Malaysian operations

rare earths

metamorworks/Adobe Stock

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. last month offered an update on its processing operations in Malaysia.

The plant is operating at reduced rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Lynas Malaysia plant continues to operate at reduced rates in line with our commitment to the health and safety of our people and in compliance with the Malaysian Government’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” Lynas said in a release. “As the vigorous 3rd wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia persists, Lynas continues to maintain strict health and hygiene protocols, including COVID-19 testing for all staff and contractors prior to entry to the site.”

Furthermore, Malaysian regulatory authorities extended the deadline for “satisfaction of the licence condition related to the commencement of construction of the Permanent Disposal Facility (PDF) for WLP residue” by six months. The deadline is now March 2, 2022.

“This recognises the constraints presented by current COVID-19 conditions,” Lynas said. “We continue to engage productively with the relevant government and regulatory authorities to progress the approvals for the PDF.”

The company’s processing operations in the country has been the source of outcry from environmental activists. Activists have appealed a court’s decision to dismiss their request for review of the decision to renew the company’s operating license in 2019.

Read more

The Construction Monthly Metals Index (MMI) picked up by 4.9% for this month’s reading.

September 2021 Construction MMI chart

You want more MetalMiner on your terms. Sign up for weekly email updates here.

US construction spending

U.S. construction spending reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,568.8 billion in July, the Census Bureau reported earlier this month.

The July rate marked a 0.3% increase from the previous month. Furthermore, the July figure jumped by 9.0% compared with July 2020.

During the first seven months of the year, construction spending totaled $883.2 billion, up 6.2% year over year.

Private construction spending reached a rate of $1,231.0 billion, or up 0.3%. Within private construction, residential construction reached an annual rate of $773.0 billion in July, up 0.5% from June. Nonresidential construction came in at $458.0 billion in July, or down 0.2%.

Meanwhile, public construction reached $337.8 billion, up 0.7%. Educational construction checked in at $79.7 billion, down 0.5%. Highway construction rose by 1.9% to a rate of $94.5 billion.

Read more

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.

Read more

This morning in metals news: global aluminum production picked up in July; the WTI crude price continues to hover around $70 per barrel; and, lastly, the Producer Price Index for final demand increased by 0.7% in August.

Want MetalMiner directly in your inbox? Sign up for weekly updates now.

Aluminum production increases in July

aluminum ingot

WestPic/Adobe Stock

Global aluminum production totaled 5.74 million metric tons in July, the International Aluminum Institute reported.

The total marked an increase from 5.52 million metric tons in July 2020. Furthermore, the total increased from 5.56 million tons in June 2021.

China’s estimated production rose to 3.34 million metric tons in July 2021. The total marked an increase from 3.24 million tons in June 2021.

Read more

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization dropped slightly last week; the number of drilled but uncompleted oil wells in the U.S. declined in July; and, lastly, the construction sector shed 3,000 jobs in August.

Are you prepared for your annual steel contract negotiations? Be sure to check out our five best practices

Steel capacity utilization hits 84.5%

hot rolled steel

niteenrk/Adobe Stock

The U.S. steel capacity utilization rate for the week ending Sept. 4 fell to 84.5%, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported this week.

The rate marked a decline from 84.9% the previous week.

Meanwhile, steel output last week totaled 1,866,000 net tons, AISI reported. The total marked a 0.4% decline from the previous week but a 23.5% year-over-year rise.

DUCs decline in July

Meanwhile, in energy news, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells in the U.S. fell to their lowest monthly level in July since November 2017.

Read more

1 2 3 4 203