Global Economic, Commodities, Scrap Metal, and Recycling Report

January 18, 2021

This is the Global Economic, Commodities, Scrap Metal and Recycling Report, by our BENLEE Roll off Trailer and Gondola Trailer, January 18th, 2021.

weekly tonnage of raw steel production

U.S. Weekly crude steel production rose to 1.709MT, a 10-month high on continued slow U.S. economic growth.

Crude Oil

Crude oil price fell to $52.04/b, near the multi-month high on concern of COVID lockdowns in Germany and France, and China’s highest new cases in 10 months.

Oil Rig Count

The U.S. weekly Oil rig count rose to 287 down 82% from the 2014 high, as prices and demand remain relatively low.

US Field Production of Crude Oil

U.S. weekly crude oil production was steady at 11.0 M/b/d remaining off March’s 13.1M record. Tempered demand and low prices are keeping production down.

Scrap Steel Price

Scrap Steel #1 HMS export buying price Philly, was steady at $360/GT, a multiyear high. The U.S. dollar index at a 4-week high, is hurting demand, so prices are expected to be down next week.

AMM Weekly Heavy Melt

Scrap steel #1 HMS rose to $413.33/GT a multiyear high on good U.S. and export demand, with export now softening due to high dollar. High prices are bringing huge supply, so prices will be down in February.

Hot Roll Coil Steel

Hot roll coil steel rose to $56.92/cwt, off the record high last week, on tight supply and passing on high scrap and iron ore prices.


Copper price fell to $3.60/lb., but remains near the 8-year high, on continued growth optimism, but the stronger U.S. dollar is a drag.


Aluminum price fell to $.902/lb. near a 2 year high on the same growth optimism.

China’s Q4 GDP

China’s Q4 GDP, grew 6.5%, back at pre-pandemic levels. Industrial output grew the most is 3.5 years. Full 2020 was 2.2%. The worst in decades, but the best major economy globally.

China’s December Global Trade Surplus

China’s December Global trade surplus rose to $78.17B, a record high as exports soared 18% year over year. December’s U.S. balance with China narrowed to -$29.5B., but for the total year 2020, the U.S./China trade deficit was $535B, the worst since 2015.

U.S. December’s Government Budget Deficit

U.S.’s December Government Budget deficit rose to $144B vs. $13.3B last December. For the year ending September there was a record deficit of $3.1T. October-December 2020, the deficit was $573B, 61% worse than the $375B in 2019. It was very, very easy to have a good economy in 2017, 2018 and 2019, as the government spent $1T/year, more than they took in.

U.S. December Retail Sales

U.S. December Retail sales fell .7% from November, the third month of decline due to high unemployment and lack of government stimulus. Electronics and appliance were down 8.3% and online sales were down 5.8%.

U.S. December Inflation

U.S. December inflation rose 1.4%. Gasoline accounted for 60% of the rise. Food rose .4%. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose 1.4% as well.

U.S. Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

U.S. Weekly initial unemployment claims rose to 965,000 and 265,000 contractors so total 1.25M. The recovery is slowing as COVID shutdowns spread, due to record deaths and hospitalizations.

Dow Jones

Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial average fell 284 points to 30,814 as markets were hurt by record daily COVID deaths, but helped by proposed $1.9T new stimulus. This would make $6.1T COVID stimulus, vs. $800B stimulus in 2009.

Lugger Securement

There is a new Lugger truck securement law for containers. Pins in arms meet the law in cases, but for others BENLEE has securement kits. Order them online or call us.

As always, feel free to call, or email me with any questions and we hope all stay safe in these very difficult next 5 months.


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