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This Morning in Metals: U.S. steel prices continue to cool

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel prices have continued to decline; OPEC will continue its output increase schedule in February 2022; and, lastly, Alcoa at the end of last year announced plans to curtail production at its San Ciprián aluminum smelter in Spain.

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

Although U.S. steel prices remain elevated, prices have cooled over the last few months, according to MetalMiner Insights data.

U.S. hot rolled coil, for example, closed last week at $1,587 per short ton, or down 8.3% month over month. Cold rolled coil, meanwhile, fell 3.2% to $2,019 per short ton.

Hot dipped galvanized is down 2.6% to $2,050 per short ton.

However, steel plate, critical for the energy sector, has bucked the general trend, particularly amid rising oil prices in Q4 2021. U.S. steel plate is up 1.6% month over month to $1,856 per short ton.

OPEC to maintain output increases
OPEC today announced it plans to continue previously agreed upon monthly output increases of 0.4 million barrels per day for February 2022.

Brent crude futures (March 2022) reached over $81 per barrel Wednesday morning, ICE data indicated.

Alcoa to curtail aluminum smelter
Meanwhile, Alcoa announced Dec. 29 it will curtail production at its San Ciprián aluminum smelter in Spain for two years.

“Alcoa Corporation (NYSE: AA) and the workers’ representatives at the Company’s San Ciprián aluminum plant in Spain have reached an agreement aimed at resolving ongoing challenges that stem from exorbitant energy prices,” the firm said Dec. 29, 2021.

“The agreement, which was signed on December 29, 2021, calls for a two-year curtailment of the smelter’s 228,000 metric tons of annual capacity, and a commitment by the Company to begin the restart of the smelter in January 2024.”

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