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This Morning in Metals: US industrial production up 0.9% in January

This morning in metals news: US industrial production picked up in January; global aluminum output also rose in January; and, lastly, General Motors reported a milestone in the construction of a new…

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This morning in metals news: US industrial production picked up in January; global aluminum output also rose in January; and, lastly, General Motors reported a milestone in the construction of a new battery cell manufacturing plant in northeast Ohio.

US industrial production rises

US industrial production rose by 0.9% in January, the Federal Reserve reported.

Furthermore, manufacturing output rose by 1.0%. Meanwhile, mining output picked up by 2.3%.

Industrial sector capacity utilization reached 75.6%, up by 0.7 percentage point. The rate, however, is down 4.0% from the long-run average from 1972-2020.

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Aluminum output picks up

Global aluminum production totaled 5.71 million tons in January, the International Aluminum Institute reported this week.

Furthermore, the total marked an increase from 5.47 million tons in January 2020.

Meanwhile, China’s output reached an estimated 3.3 million tons, up from 3.09 million tons in January 2020.

Elsewhere, production in Western Europe reached 285,000 tons, up from 284,000 tons. In addition, Eastern and Central European production fell by 3,000 tons to 353,000 tons.

After trending sideways to down in January, the aluminum price has picked back up this month, as the LME three-month aluminum price closed Monday at $2,161 per metric ton, or up 9.39% from a month ago.

General Motors hails battery cell plant milestone

Ultium Cells LLC is a joint venture of General Motors and South Korea’s LG Chem.

The joint venture will produce Ultium battery cells at a new 2.8-million-square-foot facility in Lordstown, Ohio. General Motors reported ironworkers at the construction site installed the final beam at the site.

“Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Chem, will mass-produce Ultium battery cells at the facility to advance the push for a zero-emissions, all-electric future,” GM said Feb. 19. “GM and LG Chem are investing $2.3 billion in the facility to support EV manufacturing in the U.S., and in turn, local jobs, education, career training and infrastructure.”

In addition, GM said the plant is slated for completion in 2022.

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Automotive

This Morning in Metals: Alcoa posts ‘excellent’ first quarter, cites stronger prices

This morning in metals news: Alcoa announced its first quarter financial results; US housing starts surged in March; and General Motors and LG Energy Solution are building a second Ultium battery…

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This morning in metals news: Alcoa announced its first quarter financial results; US housing starts surged in March; and General Motors and LG Energy Solution are building a second Ultium battery cell manufacturing plant in the US.

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

Alcoa releases first quarter financial results

earnings sign

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Alcoa released its first quarter financial results Thursday, in which it posted strong numbers boosted by higher aluminum and alumina prices.

The firm reported net income of $175 million in the first quarter of 2021. That compares with income of $80 million in Q1 2020. Meanwhile, Alcoa reported a net loss of $4 million in Q4 2020.

“We had an excellent first quarter with our best quarterly result since a record-setting year in 2018,” Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey said. “We excelled from the top line to the bottom line, controlling production costs and capturing the benefits of improved demand and stronger prices for alumina and aluminum.”

US housing starts bounce back in March

After cooling in February, US housing start activity picked back up in March.

US housing starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,739,000 in March. The rate marked an increase of 19.4% from February and an increase of 30.2% from March 2020.

Furthermore, single-family housing starts reached a rate of 1,238,000 in March, up 15.3% from February. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more reached 477,000.

GM, LG to build second Ultium battery manufacturing plant

General Motors and LG Energy Solution, through their joint venture Ultium Cells LLC, will invest $2.3 billion to build a second Ultium battery cell plant in the US.

The facility will be in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

“The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said.

GM said the new plant will create about 1,300 new jobs and is scheduled to open in 2023.

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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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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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