Author Archives: Fouad Egbaria

As has been well documented by now, demand for a wide variety of materials plunged on the heels of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

E.U. flag

Andrey Kuzmin/Adobe Stack

Among those materials, of course, is steel.  Consumer demand for steel-using products declined and construction projects came to a halt.

However, data from the European Steel Association show demand picking back up among EU28 nations this year.

Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

EU steel demand shows signs of recovery

Earlier this month, the European Steel Association (EUROFER) said apparent steel consumption in the EU28 rose by 3.6% in Q4 2020. In Q1 2021, apparent steel consumption rose by 0.9%.

“Although the general economic recovery in the EU appears to be uneven and exposed to risks, the recovery in steel-using industries and in steel demand should continue through 2021,”EUORFER Director General Axel Eggert said. “This is being driven by the stronger-than-expected recovery of industrial sectors, whose output is recovering the losses experienced during the pandemic.”

Read more

This morning in metals news: Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday; copper prices have bounced back in the final third of August; and, lastly, Alro Steel has acquired metal distributor and service center Metal Stock.

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

Hurricane Ida hits Louisiana

hurricane image

Mike Mareen/Adobe Stock

Hurricane Ida barreled down on the Gulf Coast over the weekend, making landfall in Louisiana on Sunday.

On Friday, the Energy Information Administration summarized the potential energy impacts of the Category 4 storm.

“Typically, demand for transportation fuels increases rapidly in the days before the arrival of a hurricane in the affected areas as consumers purchase fuel to prepare for evacuation,” the EIA noted. “This rapid, unexpected increase in demand puts pressure on local inventories because the rest of the supply chain has not had time to respond. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Ida’s landfall.”

The EIA maintains a mapping system that displays energy disruptions in locations with active storms.

Furthermore, in terms of trade, the Port of New Orleans is the fourth-largest port in the U.S. The port authorities said New Orleans Terminal and Ports America for containerized operations would be closed Monday, Aug. 30.

Copper bounces back

Despite supply concerns at mines around the world, particularly in South America, the copper price lost steam in the first half of August.

Read more

Before the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines on MetalMiner:

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

lithium-ion battery

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

Week of Aug. 23-27 (lithium-ion battery challenges, Chinese steel merger and much more)

  • Chinese steelmakers Ansteel and Ben Gang will merge to form the world’s third-largest steelmaking company.
  • Global copper mine production rose by 4.8% through the first five months of the year.
  • Stuart Burns on the technological challenges posed by lithium-ion batteries.
  • Steel capacity utilization rose to 85.0% last week.
  • Norsk Hydro said it will expand capacity at its aluminum extrusion plant in Sjunnen, Sweden.
  • Sohrab Darabshaw took a look at Afghanistan’s rare earths and potential investments on the heels of the U.S. military’s pullout from the country.
  • U.S. steel imports rose by 17.4% through the first seven months of the year, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.
  • Global aluminum production picked up in July, the International Aluminum Institute reported.
  • U.S. steel imports picked up in July, paced by a jump in imports of blooms, billets and slabs.
  • Norsk Hydro said it will extend its partnership with Equinor and Panasonic to explore the formation of a joint European battery business.
  • Global steel production fell on a month-over-month basis in July, marking the second straight month of declines.
  • Rio Tinto announced it had resumed negotiations with the union representing workers at the BC Works aluminum smelter.

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

This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto this week returning to the negotiating table with the union representing workers at the BC Works aluminum smelter; meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported multifactor productivity fell in 61 of the 84 manufacturing industries in 2019; and, lastly, miner BHP earlier this month reported its financial results for the year ending June 30, 2021.

Do you know the five best practices of sourcing metals, including aluminum?

Rio Tinto, union resume talks at BC Works

Rio Tinto sign

Argus/Adobe Stock

Rio Tinto and Unifor Local 231 have resumed negotiations at the firm’s BC Works aluminum smelter.

In late July, approximately 900 workers at the plant in Kitimat, British Columbia, went on strike, the CBC reported.

“After working until 2:30 am last night, we were expecting some big moves from the Company this morning,” the union said in a July 24 bulletin posted to its website. “Unfortunately, the Company came back to the table with absolutely nothing. Instead, they offered that we engage in joint mediation through the Labour Board.”

This week, Rio Tinto said the sides had returned to the bargaining table.

“Starting 24 August, we have returned to the bargaining table to resume negotiations,” Rio Tinto said in a statement this week. “Our conversations will tackle the outstanding issues. If successful, Rio Tinto and Unifor Local 2301 will develop a plan to return to work that will guide what needs to be done from the time an agreement is reached until we ramp up to full production with all pots back in operation.”

According to information on the company’s website, the plant produces 329 kt of aluminum annually. Aluminum from the plant goes primarily to customers in Japan, South Korea and the United States.

The smelter began operations in 1954.

Read more

Global crude steel production fell month over month for the second straight month in July, the World Steel Association reported this week.

With volatile steel markets, knowing which strategy to execute and when can make all the difference between saving and losing money. See how MetalMiner looks at different market scenarios

Global crude steel production drops

China steel production

Zhao Jiankang/AdobeStock

Global crude steel production totaled 161.7 million metric tons in July, the World Steel Association reported.

The total marked a decline from 168 million metric tons in June. Furthermore, production totaled 175 million metric tons in May.

Meanwhile, July production jumped 3.3% on a year-over-year basis.

Chinese steel production curbs take hold

Beijing’s efforts to curb steel production might not have been particularly successful during the first half of the year, as Chinese steel production surged. Chinese steel production from January through June totaled 563.3 million tons, or up 11.8% year over year.

However, the country’s steel output has declined in each of the last two months.

Read more

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro announced it is extending its partnership with Equinor and Panasonic; meanwhile, North American Stainless earlier this month issued a flat product price announcement; and, lastly, aluminum prices remain elevated.

More MetalMiner is available on LinkedIn.

Norsk Hydro extends battery partnership

Norsk Hydro

filins/Adobe Stock

Oslo-based aluminum maker Norsk Hydro yesterday announced it is extending its partnership with Panasonic and Equinor to create a joint European battery business.

“The strategic partnership will continue to develop the business case for a sustainable and cost-competitive European battery business,” Norsk Hydro said in a release.

“The joint battery initiative has refined possible Norwegian site locations for a potential European battery business to a handful. At the same time, the project will be looking at alternative locations in the European Union.”

NAS issues price announcement

Earlier this month, North American Stainless announced several price changes for its products.

The price changes included:

Read more

U.S. steel imports totaled 2.7 million metric tons in July, the Census Bureau reported this week.

The total marked an increase from 2.6 million metric tons in June.

Are you under pressure to generate steel cost savings? Make sure you are following these five best practices.

US steel imports paced by blooms, billets and slabs

steel made in an EAF

nikitos77/Adobe Stock

The July rise in imports came largely on the back of a jump in imports of blooms, billets and slabs.

Imports for that category totaled 860,790 tons, up 8.2% from 795,863 tons in June.

Meanwhile, imports of hot dipped galvanized sheets and strips totaled 228,981 tons in July, up from 177,925 tons the previous month.

Imports of oil country goods rose to 160,025 tons from 154,073 tons the previous month.

Rebar, hot rolled sheet imports decline

However, imports of reinforcing bars fell to 82,623 tons from 94,915 tons the previous month.

Hot rolled sheet imports totaled 282,605 tons in July, down from 311,461 tons the previous month.

Wire rod imports fell to 101,746 tons from 113,408 tons in June.

North of the border

By country, imports from Canada increased to 594,500 from tons in July from 579,405 tons the previous month.

Meanwhile, imports from Mexico fell 7.9% month over month to 349,343 tons.

Imports from Russia surged by 30.5% to 210,540 tons.

Elsewhere, imports from Japan plunged to 60,924 tons in July from 126,982 tons in June. Korean imports jumped to 265,573 tons from 248,582 tons the previous month.

In addition, imports from Brazil surged by 34.8% month over month to 413,306 tons in July.

Steel Dynamics eyes Q4 for new flat rolled mill

Steel buyers continue to face myriad challenges, from market tightness to logistics issues.

Global steel production declined for the second straight month on a month-over-month basis in July, the World Steel Association reported this week.

Global steel production totaled 161.7 million tons in July, down from 168 million tons the previous month. Meanwhile, May production totaled 175 million tons.

Furthermore, Beijing’s efforts to curb steel production appear to be taking hold. China’s steel production also declined for a second straight month, totaling 86.8 million tons in July (down from 93.9 million tons in June.

In the U.S., buyers are vying for limited supply, whether domestically or in the form of steel imports, amid an unprecedented ascent of steel prices over the last year.

Some relief is coming in the form of Steel Dynamics, Inc.’s (SDI) new electric arc furnace (EAF) flat rolled mill in Sinton, Texas. In its Q2 investor report, the steelmaker said it plans to start production at the mill in mid-Q4 2021. The company estimated an investment price tag of $1.9 billion for the new mill.

SDI estimates the mill will add 3 million tons in annual production, bringing its total annual capacity to nearly 14 million tons.

Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

Global aluminum production totaled 5.75 million tons in July, the International Aluminum Institute (IAI) reported this month.

The monthly total marked an increase from 5.57 million tons in June.

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

China aluminum production rises in July

aluminum ingot stacked for export

Olegs/Adobe Stock

China, the world’s top aluminum producer, produced an estimated 3.34 million tons in July. The July total marked an increase from 3.24 million tons in June.

The July total also jumped from the 3.12 million tons produced in July 2020.

In July, China imported 469,030.6 tons of unwrought aluminum and aluminum products, the General Administration of Customs reported. The total increased from 454,397.4 tons in June.

Meanwhile, China exported 3.09 million tons through July, good for an increase of 12.7% year over year. Furthermore, on a value basis, China’s aluminum imports for the aforementioned period increased by 37.1% year over year, reflecting a generally bullish price environment for the base metal this year.

Read more

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel imports are up by 17.4% in the year to date, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported; meanwhile, Toyota Motor is imposing its biggest price hike on steel materials in over a decade, according to Nikkei Asia; and, lastly, the WTI crude oil price has ticked up this week.

Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

US steel imports up 17.4%

imports

nattanan726/Adobe Stock

US steel imports jumped by 17.4% through the first seven months of the year, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The U.S. imported a total of 3.0 million net tons of steel in July 2021, up 2.8% from June, AISI reported, citing Census Bureau data.

Meanwhile, through the first seven months of 2021, steel imports totaled 17.7 million net tons, or up 17.4% year over year.

Read more

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro plans to expand capacity at its Sjunnen aluminum extrusion plant; the Pilbara Ports Authority reported a decline in throughput in July; and, lastly, the United States International Trade Commission conducted a five-year sunset review on existing duty orders for carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe from China.

Join the MetalMiner LinkedIn group today. Don’t miss out on daily MetalMiner news and content. 

Hydro to boost capacity at Sjunnen

Norsk Hydro

filins/Adobe Stock

Oslo-based Norsk Hydro announced it plans to increase capacity at its extrusion plant in Sjunnen, Sweden.

The firm said it will finalize the expansion, which comes at a cost of €11.3 million, by the end of 2022.

“The decision to expand the aluminium casthouse operations in Sjunnen comes in response to an increased market demand for low-carbon aluminium profiles across all industries where Hydro Extrusions operates,” Hydro said.

“Furthermore, the location in the south of Sweden is ideal to capture available used aluminium metal from local industries which otherwise would have had to be transported long distances, increasing cost and carbon footprint of the final product.”

Read more

1 2 3 4 5 202