Articles in Category: Commodities

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

hot rolled coil steel

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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.

Week of Nov. 29-Dec. 3 (hot rolled coil prices, Alcoa announces smelter restart and more)

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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.

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OPEC meets as oil prices retreat

crude oil

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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.

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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%

steel production

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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.

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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.

Thanksgiving

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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:

We’re off today and tomorrow but will resume regular coverage Monday.

But for now, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, MetalMiner readers!

Well, so far, the simple answer to the question posed in the headline is “no.”

On Tuesday, the White House announced the Department of Energy will “make available releases of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices for Americans and address the mismatch between demand exiting the pandemic and supply.”

Brent crude oil price chart

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Talk of a strategic reserve release did have a calming effect on markets in previous weeks. However, when it came to it 50 million, was too little and over too long a time frame to have any impact.

Prices actually rose, with the international benchmark Brent settling up 3.3% at $82.31 a barrel on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported.

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Oil reserve delay

In part, the aforementioned result is due to not just the limited size of the release — made in concert with the U.K., India, South Korea and China — but the delay.

About 32 million barrels will be delivered between mid-December and the end of April 2022 in a swap with oil companies, which then must return an equivalent volume by 2024. The other 18 million barrels accelerate sales that Congress had already authorized, and so have no net impact.

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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%

US GDP

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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.

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This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro plans to begin construction on its new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan, in Q2 2022; meanwhile, U.S. utilities are spending more on electricity delivery; and, lastly, the United States International Trade Commission recently voted to continue investigations regarding imports of oil country tubular goods from Argentina, Mexico, Russia and South Korea.

Make sure you are following the five best practices of sourcing aluminum

Construction to begin next year on Hydro’s new Michigan aluminum recycling plant

Norsk Hydro

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Norsk Hydro said it is on track to begin construction in Q2 2022 on its new aluminum recycling plant in Cassopolis, Michigan.

“The Cassopolis greenfield development will mark the first large-scale production of Hydro CIRCAL® extrusion ingot in North America. We look forward to bringing this high-quality, low-carbon product to our most demanding customers,” said Eivind Kallevik, executive vice president of Hydro Aluminium Metal.

The extrusion ingot will be used in automotive, construction and consumer applications, in addition to building systems. The plant will have annual capacity of 120,000 tons per year.

Utilities pay more for electricity delivery

U.S. utilities are paying for more electricity delivery but less for power production, the Energy Information Administration reported today.

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

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022. To sign up, visit the MetalMiner Events page.

stainless steel rods

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Week of Nov. 15-19 (stainless steel base prices, infrastructure bill and more)

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This morning in metals news: the European Commission this week announced anti-dumping duties for stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from India and Indonesia; the Energy Information Administration forecast crude oil prices will decline in 2022; and, lastly, U.S. housing starts declined in October.

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European Commission imposes AD duties on stainless from India, Indonesia

E.U. flag

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On Thursday, the European Commission announced it is imposing anti-dumping duties on stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from India and Indonesia.

The duties range from 13.9-35.3% for the exporting producers from India. Meanwhile, the duties range from 10.2-20.2% for the exporting producers from Indonesia.

“This sector is critically important to the EU because it is a high value added product, with EU consumption totalling almost €7 billion,” the European Commission said Thursday.

The duties will protect 13,500 direct E.U. jobs in the stainless steel cold-rolled flat sector, the European Commission claimed.

EIA: crude oil prices to come down in 2022

Providing some relief, the Energy Information Administration forecast crude oil prices will soften in 2022.

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Metals will play a significant role in helping governments and companies to address climate issues by aiding the transition to cleaner energy and ultimately decreasing carbon emissions, industry watchers said.

“The metals industry is crucial to facilitating this,” one analyst told MetalMiner.

“If you want energy transition, it is not going to happen without metals and mining,” the analyst added.

His and other analysts’ comments come as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26 (Conference of the Parties), which took place in Glasgow from Oct. 31-Nov. 13.

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

Phasing out coal

carbon emissions

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The conference ended with an agreement to work towards limiting an increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Chief amongst the steps to achieve that is the limiting of coal.

Up to 40 countries had originally planned to “phase out” coal usage in the next 10-20 years. However, the world’s largest users — China, India and the United States — were able to change the wording to “phase down.”

Much depends on China and what it does with coal, however. That includes running power stations and providing feedstock for steelmakers’ coking ovens, the first analyst said.

“I don’t doubt that China will wean itself off of coal,” the first analyst said, “but the reality is that coal will be around in another 30 years.”

Other parts of the climate agreement included 100 countries’ agreement to achieve a 30% cut in methane levels by 2030. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced at the conference his country’s plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 as well as to achieve some reduction by 2030.

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