This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization picked up to 78.7% last week; the US Census Bureau reported US goods and services trade figures for March; and Ford released its April sales totals.
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US steel capacity utilization reaches 78.7%
US steel capacity utilization for the week ending May 1 reached 78.7%, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.
The rate increased from 78.4% the week before and from 55.2% during the same week in 2020.
Output last week totaled 1,788,000 net tons, or up 44.4% year over year.
US goods and services deficit rises
The US goods and services trade deficit picked up by $3.9 billion in March from the previous month, reaching $74.4 billion.
March exports came in at a value of $200 billion, up by $12.4 billion from February. However, imports checked in at $274.5 million, up by $16.4 billion.
Ford releases April sales figures
Late last month, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast new-vehicle retail sales were headed for a record April.
This week, Ford reported retail sales in April jumped 57.1% year over year. April retail sales reached 197,813 units.
US retail sales also jumped by 23.7% compared with April 2019 sales.
Truck sales jumped 33.0% year over year. In addition, SUV sales surged by 127.2%.
As Stuart Burns noted yesterday, electric vehicle sales rises, for now, should be viewed with the caveat that they are coming from a relatively low base.
Nonetheless, Ford is among the automakers reporting significant percentage gains in EV sales.
“Ford electrified vehicle sales produced a new all-time monthly sales record – up 262 percent on new product offerings,” the automaker said. “Mustang Mach-E sales totaled 1,951, F-150 PowerBoost sales totaled 3,365, while Escape electrified sales totaled 3,695 in April. Electrified vehicle sales totaled 11,172 – up 262 percent.”
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