Articles in Category: Manufacturing

This morning in metals news: new orders for manufactured goods ticked up by 1.2% in August; meanwhile, Nucor affiliates announced two acquisitions; and, lastly, the WTI crude oil price inched upward last week.

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New orders for manufactured goods rise

automotive production

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New orders for manufactured goods rose by 1.2% in August, the Census Bureau reported today.

New orders for the month reached $515.7 billion. The August jump marked the 15th monthly increase in the last 16 months.

Meanwhile, new orders for manufactured durable goods increased by 1.8% in August.

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This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto said it had reached an agreement with the union representing workers at its BC Works; the Census Bureau reported new orders for manufactured durable goods increased in August; and, lastly, oil prices rose last week.

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Rio Tinto, BC Works union reach deal

Rio Tinto sign

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After a work stoppage at its BC Works, Rio Tinto announced it had reached an agreement in principle with the union representing workers there.

“Both parties are satisfied that the proposed Agreement will provide a foundation for respect in the workplace and underpin a competitive and sustainable future for BC Works, benefitting employees and their families, the company, and the broader community,” Rio Tinto said.

“In addition to the CLA, the parties have also reached an agreement in principle for a Memorandum of Understanding on a new way of working together and on a return to work protocol.”

About 900 workers went on strike at the plant in late July. The two parties returned to the negotiating table late last month.

BC Works has capacity of 329,000 tons of aluminum per year.

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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:

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Week of Sept. 20-24 (China’s property market and steel prices, global copper mine production and much more)

Chinese steel factory

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This morning in metals news: pre-Labor Day retail gasoline prices are at their highest level in seven years; meanwhile, payroll employment rose by 235,000 in August; and, lastly, Norilsk Nickel has signed an agreement to build a liquefied natural gas icebreaker.

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Pre-Labor Day gasoline prices rise

gasoline pump

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To the chagrin of those driving this holiday weekend, pre-Labor Day gasoline prices have reached their highest level since 2014, the Energy Information Administration reported.

The average gas price reached $3.15 per gallon as of Aug. 30.

Furthermore, the price marked a 42% jump compared with the same point in 2020.

Payroll employment up 235K

U.S. payroll employment picked up by 235,000 in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Furthermore, monthly job growth so far this year has averaged 586,000 per month.

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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.

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New orders for manufactured goods rise 0.4%

automotive production

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New orders for manufactured goods rose by 0.4% in July, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

Furthermore, new orders for manufactured goods have increased in 14 of the last 15 months. July orders amounted to a value of $508.1 billion.

New orders had increased by 1.5% in June.

Productivity jumps 2.1%

U.S. nonfarm labor productivity increased by 2.1% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

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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.

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Rio Tinto, union resume talks at BC Works

Rio Tinto sign

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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.

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This morning in metals news: U.S. industrial production picked up in July; the Energy Information Administration revised downward its OPEC petroleum production forecast; and, lastly, Russia’s Rusal recently announced its half-year results.

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Industrial production increases in July

robot building automotive aluminum component

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U.S. industrial production jumped by 0.9% in July, the Federal Reserve reported this week.

Industrial production rose by 0.2% in June.

Manufacturing output in July rose by 1.4%.

“About half of the gain in factory output is attributable to a jump of 11.2 percent for motor vehicles and parts, as a number of vehicle manufacturers trimmed or canceled their typical July shutdowns,” the Fed reported. “Despite the large increase last month, vehicle assemblies continued to be constrained by a persistent shortage of semiconductors; the production of motor vehicles and parts in July was about 3-1/2 percent below its recent peak in January 2021.”

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. goods and services deficit rose by $2.2 billion in May; meanwhile, new orders for manufactured goods rose in May; and, lastly, Ford Motor Co. released its June sales results.

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US goods and services deficit increases in May

U.S. trade

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The U.S. goods and services deficit rose by $2.2 billion in May to $71.2 billion, the Census Bureau reported.

The deficit increased from $69.1 billion the previous month.

Furthermore, May exports reached $206.0 billion, or up $1.3 billion from the previous month. Meanwhile, May imports reached $277.3 billion, or up $3.5 billion.

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This morning in metals news: new-vehicle retail sales are on pace to hit their highest total ever for the month of May, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive; meanwhile, new orders for manufactured durable goods declined in April after 11 straight months of gains; and, lastly, LME aluminum has backtracked over the last two-plus weeks.

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New-vehicle retail sales set to have record May

auto sale

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US new-vehicle retail sales are on pace to have a record May, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported in their jointly released automotive forecast today.

They project new-vehicle retail sales this month will reach 1,388,600, good for an increase of 34.0% year over year. Furthermore, the sales forecast would mark a jump of 10.6% compared with May 2019 sales.

“The U.S. auto industry is showing tremendous adaptability in maintaining a record sales pace, despite historically low inventory levels,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power. “May is usually one of the highest-volume sales months with buying activity peaking around the Memorial Day weekend when manufacturers typically offer incremental incentives. This year, notwithstanding supply constraints and significantly reduced incentives from manufacturers, May 2021 will be another record-breaking month for the industry.”

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automotive sale in dealership

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According to a joint forecast released by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, US new-vehicle retail sales in April 2021 are headed for the highest number ever recorded for that month.

The news will be some consolation to automakers, who have struggled with a semiconductor shortage. As a result of the shortage, General Motors, Ford, Stellantis, Honda and many others have had to idle production.

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New-vehicle retail sales set to hit record April

Despite the slowdown in output, US automotive sales surged in April.

According to a forecast released today by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, new-vehicle retail sales in April are set to reach 1,325,500 units. Trucks and SUVs are expected to account for 76.1% of those sales.

That sales figure would mark a whopping 110.6% increase from April 2020 sales (when adjusted for selling days).

Meanwhile, the April sales forecast marked a 20.8% increase compared with April 2019 sales.

In addition, the automotive intelligence firms projected 1,479,800 units in total new sales. That would mark an increase of 107.1% from April 2020. When compared with April 2019, it is a 7.8% jump when adjusted for selling days.

The groups forecast the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total new-vehicle sales to reach 18.1 million units. That would mark an increase of 9.4 million units from 2020 and 1.7 million units from 2019.

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