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This Morning in Metals: February US auto sales forecast to rise 3.3%

This morning in metals news: J.D. Power and LMC Automotive released their joint forecast on February US auto sales; meanwhile, US steel imports fell by 23% in January; and, lastly, Ford’s CEO…

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This morning in metals news: J.D. Power and LMC Automotive released their joint forecast on February US auto sales; meanwhile, US steel imports fell by 23% in January; and, lastly, Ford’s CEO urged the US government to support the implementation of electric vehicle applications.

February US auto sales forecast to rise

New-vehicle retail sales in February are forecast to rise by 3.3% when adjusted for selling days, LMC Automotive and J.D. Power said.

“Despite challenges posed by inclement weather in most of the country, retail sales demand continues to be strong with the industry posting a second consecutive month of year-over-year gains,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power.

Meanwhile, the average manufacturer incentive is down. According to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, the average incentive is on pace to be $3,562 per vehicle, or down $614 from a year ago.

Furthermore, as incentives decline, average transaction prices are going up. Per the report, the forecast calls for the average transaction price to rise 9.8% to $37,524, a February record.

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Steel imports drop 23%

US steel imports dropped 23% in January on a year-over-year basis, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

January imports totaled 2.42 million net tons. However, January imports jumped 62.2% from the previous month.

In addition, steel import market share reached an estimated 15% in January, the AISI added.

Ford CEO urges government to step in on EVs

Ford CEO Jim Farley on Wednesday urged the US government to step in and promote battery production and EV charging infrastructure, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at securing several critical supply chains. Among the critical products targeted are semiconductors, which have automotive applications.

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Automotive

Week in Review: US steel capacity utilization; European steel; copper market shift

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner: The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and…

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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:

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 in Review, April 5-9 (steel capacity utilization, European steel’s challenges and more)

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Automotive

This Morning in Metals: Aluminum Association calls for changes to Section 232 exclusion process

This morning in metals news: the Aluminum Association this week called for reforms to the Section 232 exclusion process; meanwhile, Volvo Cars reported a record first quarter in sales; and, lastly,…

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This morning in metals news: the Aluminum Association this week called for reforms to the Section 232 exclusion process; meanwhile, Volvo Cars reported a record first quarter in sales; and, lastly, Chilean miner Codelco requested arbitration with Ecuador regarding the Llurimagua project.

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

Aluminum Association calls for Section 232 exclusion reform

Aluminum production

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Just over three years ago, former President Donald Trump used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to institute tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

However, in addition to quotas and waivers for certain countries, domestic consumers could file for tariff exclusions with the Department of Commerce.

Meanwhile, this week, the Aluminum Association called for reforms to the Section 232 exclusion process.

“Three years after the implementation of the Section 232 tariffs on most aluminum imports into the U.S., it is time to take a fresh look at trade policy to support a robust domestic aluminum industry,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. “The Biden administration and the new Congress have an opportunity to harness the growth potential for aluminum as a sustainable solution for the 21st century, and capitalize on the more than $3 billion of private U.S. aluminum investment over the past decade. The federal government can take action immediately to put American aluminum on an equal footing with overseas competitors.”

Volvo touts record first quarter

Volvo Cars reported its best-ever first quarter for global sales.

Volvo’s sales surged by 40.8% year over year.

“In Europe and the US, the company managed to improve sales compared to the first quarter last year, while managing to cope with the ongoing effects of the pandemic,” the automaker said. “China has by now recovered from the impact of the pandemic, which was peaked in Q1 2020.”

Furthermore, Volvo’s March sales jumped by 62.3% year over year.

Chile’s Codelco seeks arbitration with Ecuador over Llurimagua project

Lastly, Chilean copper giant Codelco said it is seeking arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce with Ecuador.

Codelco said it is seeking compliance regarding agreements signed with the National Mining Company of Ecuador regarding the Llurimagua project. The project sits 80 kilometers from Ecuador’s capital, Quito.

In a release, Codelco said the parties agreed to definitive terms for the partnership in 2019. In addition, Codelco said it hoped the process will make it possible to reach an agreement for the “mutual benefit” of the parties.

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Automotive

This Morning in Metals: Ford China reports 73.3% sales jump

This morning in metals news: Ford China announced its sales rose by 73.3% year over year; meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short-Term Energy Outlook; and, lastly,…

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This morning in metals news: Ford China announced its sales rose by 73.3% year over year; meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short-Term Energy Outlook; and, lastly, Rio Tinto announced it had achieved battery-grade lithium at its Boron plant.

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Ford China tallies fourth consecutive quarterly sales jump

Ford China reported its Q1 sales jumped 73.3% year over year.

The jump marked its fourth consecutive year-over-year quarterly sales increase.

Meanwhile, Ford China sales increased 30.3% year over year in Q4 2020.

EIA releases Short-Term Energy Outlook

The EIA forecast US retail gasoline prices this summer will average $2.78 per gallon.

Meanwhile, last summer’s average checked in at $2.07 per gallon.

“EIA expects U.S. gasoline consumption to rise in response to growing levels of GDP and employment,” the EIA said. “In addition, as COVID-19 vaccines are more widely distributed, we expect that driving will increase, causing gasoline consumption to rise.”

Furthermore, the EIA forecast US gasoline consumption will average 8.6 million barrels per day in 2021, up from 8.0 million barrels per day in 2020.

In addition, in its latest outlook, the EIA used projections of 5.6% GDP growth this year and 4.2% growth in 2022.

Rio Tinto achieves battery-grade lithium

Lastly, Rio Tinto announced it had achieved battery-grade lithium at its Boron plant in California.

“The demonstration plant is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron, to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation.

“An initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of lithium.”

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