This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto said it plans to triple solar capacity at its Weipa bauxite mine in Australia; meanwhile, the Aluminum Association said the Department of Commerce had issued final affirmative determinations regarding imports of aluminum foil; and, lastly, U.S. Steel is reportedly looking for a site to build a $3 billion mini-mill.
“Under the plans, EDL has been contracted to build, own and operate a 4MW solar plant and 4MW/4MWh of battery storage at Weipa,” Rio said in a release. “Work on the battery facilities will start this year, with construction of the whole project expected to be complete by late 2022.
Aluminum Association praises aluminum foil ruling
The Department of Commerce issued final affirmative determinations in its anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy review of aluminum foil imports from Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia, and Turkey, the Aluminum Association said Friday.
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:
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.
“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.
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.
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US import prices fall
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.
This morning in metals news: new orders for manufactured goods posted an increase in July from the previous month; meanwhile, U.S. productivity rose by 2.1% in Q2 2021; and, lastly, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit fell from June to July.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
This morning in metals news: the pace of the rise of U.S. import prices slowed in July compared with the previous month; meanwhile, Nucor completed the acquisition of an insulated metal panels business; and, lastly, U.S. steel prices continue to move upward.
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US import prices up 0.3% in July
U.S. import prices jumped by 0.3% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Higher fuel prices drove the July jump, according to the BLS.
Meanwhile, import prices surged by 1.1% in June.
On the other hand, U.S. export prices rose by 1.3% in July after a 1.2% jump in June.