Industry News

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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.

In addition, our May 2021 Monthly Metals Index (MMI) PDF is now available for download. The PDF summary includes an executive summary, trends chart and portions of each MMI article (with each page including a link to the full article).

This month’s MMI continued the general theme of rising prices. Copper, for example, reach an all-time high this week. Iron ore and steel skyrocketed, while just about everything else also moved upward.

As for stainless steel, the United Steelworkers union’s ATI strike continues. The MetalMiner team broke down the stainless market recently as part of our monthly webinar series, a video replay of which is available in the MetalMiner video archive.

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

Week of May 10-14 (the copper price, U.S. Steel’s big announcement and much more)

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This morning in metals news: consultancy GlobalData forecast copper production from the top 10 copper mining companies will rise by up to 3.8% this year; meanwhile, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs advanced a bill that aims to strengthen Buy American requirements; and, lastly, US import prices rose in April.

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

GlobalData: copper production from top 10 companies to rise by up to 3.8% in 2021

copper mine

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Amid a run of record copper prices, increased copper production this year could take some of the steam out of the market.

According to London-based consultancy GlobalData, copper production from the top 10 copper mining companies in the world could rise by up to 3.8% this year.

Meanwhile, output from the 10 companies — which includes Glencore, Antofagasta, BHP and Freeport-McMoRan — fell by 0.2% in 2021, GlobalData reported Thursday.

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This morning in metals news: Barksdale Resources announced it will acquire 100% of the Sunnyside copper-lead-zinc-silver project in Arizona; meanwhile, Cleveland-Cliffs signs have gone at the former ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor steel mill; and, lastly, the Biden administration has approved the first large-scale offshore wind power project in US waters.

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

Barksdale to acquire Sunnyside project

mining

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Vancouver-based Barksdale Resources Inc. announced it will acquire 100% of the Sunnyside copper-lead-zinc-silver project in Arizona from Regal Resources Inc.

“The Transaction allows Regal shareholders to participate in a larger, more liquid company that not only holds the consolidated Sunnyside project, but also the 100% owned San Antonio, Goat Canyon, and Canelo copper porphyry exploration projects near Sunnyside as well as the San Javier copper-gold project in Sonora, Mexico,” Barksdale said in a release.

The transaction still requires regulatory approval, in addition to approval by Regal shareholders.

Cliffs signs up at Burns Harbor mill

In December, Cleveland-Cliffs closed on its acquisition of most of ArcelorMittal’s North American assets.

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After a better-than-expected performance by India’s Tata Steel in the fourth quarter and the full year, the company has put its plan to sell off its Southeast Asian business on the backburner for now.

In both earnings and cash flows, Tata Steel reported one of its best performances, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Tata Steel profit jumps 79.7%

The steelmaker’s consolidated net profit rose 79.7% over the preceding quarter, while operating profit rose 48% sequentially.

Its consolidated sales volumes rose 0.43% quarter over quarter to 4.67 million tons. For the full year, it reported 17.31 million tons, up from 16.97 million tons in fiscal year 2020.

The company also managed to reduce its debt by 28% compared to the previous fiscal year.

While presenting its results, Tata Steel said its Southeast Asia business is performing much better now. As such, instead of going ahead with the plan announced in 2019 to spin it off, it had decided to focus on running it.

That portion of the business includes NatSteel Singapore, NatSteel Vietnam, and Millennium Steel Thailand.

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This morning in metals news: aluminum roller and recycler Novelis announced its quarterly financial results; meanwhile, the United States International Trade Commission voted Tuesday on anti-dumping duties for prestressed concrete steel wire strand; and, lastly, the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.8% in April.

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

Novelis reports ‘outstanding’ quarter

earnings sign

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Aluminum roller and recycler Novelis reported net income of $180 million during the quarter ending March 31, 2020 (Q4 of fiscal year 2021).

The performance marked a jump from $63 million in Q4 of fiscal year 2020.

“Guided by our purpose and driven by the resilience of our people and the strength of our partnerships, we safely navigated this extraordinary year to achieve outstanding results,” President and CEO Steve Fisher said. “With the ongoing successful integration of Aleris, a diverse and innovative product portfolio, and unmatched geographic footprint, we have proven our ability to deliver sustainable aluminum solutions to customers in a way that resulted in record financial performance.”

Furthermore, among other factors, higher average aluminum prices helped drive a 33% year-over-year rise in sales to $3.6 billion.

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This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization fell to 78.1% last week; meanwhile, a cyberattack halted operations of a major US pipeline on Friday; and, lastly, US steel prices continue to surge.

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

US steel capacity utilization falls to 78.1%

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US steel capacity utilization for the week ending May 8 dipped to 78.1% from 78.7% the previous week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

Production during the week totaled 1,774,000 net tons, or down 0.8% from the previous week.

However, production increased by 45.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Production for the year to date reached 32,089,000 net tons at steel capacity utilization rate of 77.4%. Output is up 5.7% on a year-over-year basis.

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This morning in metals news: Century Aluminum released its Q1 financial results; meanwhile, copper prices continue to surge; and natural gas production plummeted during what was a frigid February in the US.

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

Century Aluminum releases Q1 financial results

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Century Aluminum reported a Q1 net loss of $140 million, compared with a Q4 2020 net loss of $35.5 million.

“First quarter results were negatively impacted by $87.4 million of exceptional items, in particular $92.7 million of unrealized losses on forward derivative contracts (net of tax),” the firm said.

Meanwhile, the firm reported net sales increased by 14% to $444 million, citing higher aluminum prices and regional premiums.

President and CEO Michael Bless said the firm is committed to developing its “low-carbon aluminum products as well as the expansion of our smelters’ exposure to renewable power resources.”

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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, including whether or not we are in a supercycle, rising EV demand and more:

list of commodities prices

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MetalMiner should-cost models: Give your organization levers to pull for more price transparency, from service centers, producers and part suppliers. Explore the models today.

Week of May 3-7 (supercycle, EV battery demand and more)

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

This morning in metals news: MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns weighed in on the outlook for iron ore prices and steel prices throughout the remainder of this year; the unemployment rate was unchanged in April; and the copper price has soared past the $10,000 per metric ton mark.

Does your company have a steel buying strategy based on current steel price trends?

Iron ore prices likely to remain elevated

bulk cargo iron ore

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Commenting on MarketWatch, MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns said steel prices are likely to lose some steam in the second half of the year. In turn, so will iron ore price.

However, the drop is not likely to be significant. In fact, he noted he expects prices to remain elevated for the balance of the year.

“Iron is experiencing a perfect storm at the moment, Beijing’s environmental constraints are having a two-pronged impact on prices,” he told Marketwatch.

Unemployment unchanged in April

US unemployment checked in at 6.1% in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

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This morning in metals news: nonfarm business sector labor productivity jumped by 5.4% in the first quarter; the CME Group said it will permanently close the trading pits it shut down last March; and US energy production dipped last year.

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US nonfarm labor productivity shoots up in Q1 2021

US nonfarm labor productivity rose by 5.4% in the first quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Furthermore, output increased by 8.4% and hours worked increased by 2.9%.

Meanwhile, manufacturing labor productivity rose by 0.1% in Q1 2021. Manufacturing output rose by 2.4% and hours worked by 2.3%.

Durable goods manufacturing productivity rose by 0.7% in the first quarter. Meanwhile, nondurable goods manufacturing productivity increased by 0.3%.

CME closes trading pits permanently

After closing its open outcry trading pits last March, the CME Group said the closure is now permanent.

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