Articles in Category: Company News
SMU Steel Summit 2015

Meet us in Atlanta for SMU’s Steel Summit Conference!

The Steel Market Update 2015 Steel Summit Conference invades Atlanta next Tuesday and Wednesday, and the MetalMiner™ team will be there in full force.

Lisa Reisman, CEO, Azul Partners and executive editor, MetalMiner, is presenting our September steel price forecast, as part of our Monthly Buying Outlook report, which is now available with an annual subscription.

Also presenting at the event is Serafino Capoferri, London Commodity Consultant, CRU; Peter Meyers, executive vice president, Metalico; Gaurav Chhibbar, raw material manager, Cargill Metals; Timna Tanners, research analyst, Metals and Mining Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and John Anton, principal economist, Steel IHS Inc., among others.

This is the annual event for steel producers, manufacturing companies, end-users and service centers to come together and discuss the current issues affecting the metals industry.

Learn more and register today!

Two major materials handling companies merged as equals and the last US rare earths mine has shut down.

Konecranes, Terex Agree To Merge

Konecranes and Terex Corp. have announced a merger of equals.

The combined company, to be called Konecranes Terex Plc. Both companies are global lifting and material handling solutions companies. They have estimated combined 2014 revenues $10.0 billion and EBITDA of $845 million. The combined company will maintain headquarters in Hyvinkää, Finland as well as Westport, Conn.

Molycorp Shuts Down Mountain Pass

Molycorp, Inc. announced today that it will transition its Mountain Pass Rare Earth Facility to a “care and maintenance” mode while it plans to continue serving its rare earth oxide customers via its production facilities in Estonia and China. Customers of the company’s rare earth magnetic materials, as well as its rare earth-based water treatment products, will not be impacted.

Rare earth production at the Mountain Pass facility will be suspended no later than October 20, 2015, and the site, including idled machinery and equipment, will be maintained to ensure it remains in safe and stable condition, and that government regulatory commitments can be met.

Rare earth pricing, which has declined dramatically over the past four years, was a key factor in the decision to suspend rare earth production at Mountain Pass, company officials said.

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Get your short- and medium-term buying strategy for industrial metals.

Less than one week away! Join us Thursday, August 27 at 10 a.m. CDT for the webinar, PREVIEW: MetalMiner Price Forecasts for September.

Can’t make it live? Register anyway and we’ll send you a copy of the slides and recording of the webinar for you to view at your convenience.

For the second consecutive month, we will be providing a behind-the-scenes look at our metal price forecasts and how we formulate our new Monthly Metal Buying Outlook reports. If you source aluminum, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, tin or steel and are in need of expert insight, market commentary and a medium- and short-term trend analysis for these base metals then this is the webinar for you!

Speakers to include:

lisa reisman metalminer headshotLisa Reisman, CEO, Azul Partners and executive editor, MetalMiner
Lisa has more than two decades’ experience in management consulting and direct materials sourcing. She previously owned and operated her own aluminum trading company, as well as served in past roles at Andersen and Deloitte Consulting.

 

john conolly metalminer headshotJohn Conolly, managing director, Azul Partners
John also has more than two decades’ experience, but in listed derivatives, trading commodities and client advisement on hedging commercial risks. He comes to us from the CME Group where he was director of product marketing, and has been featured on CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business News.

Register today!

 

Existing home sales are up and a major iron ore producer reported plunging profits and cut its steel outlook.

US Existing Home Sales Surge

US Home resales rose to a near 8-1/2-year high in July, Reuters reported.

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While other data on Thursday showed a slight increase in the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week, the trend remained consistent with strong labor market momentum.

The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 2% to an annual rate of 5.59 million units last month, the highest pace since February 2007.

Demand for housing is being boosted by a strengthening labor market. But supply remains tight, pushing up home prices and sidelining first-time buyers, who are a key part of a strong housing market. The share of first-time buyers fell to a six-month low of 28% last month.

BHP Billiton Reports Profit Plunge, Cuts Outlook

BHP Billiton Ltd. reported full-year profit plunged 52% on tumbling commodity prices and cut its long-term forecasts for steel output in China, its largest customer.

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Underlying profit was $6.4 billion in the year ended June 30 from $13.3 billion a year earlier, the world’s biggest mining company said Tuesday in a statement. BHP will increase its dividend by 2.5 percent to $1.24 a share.

Following our recent article on the seaborne iron ore market, some may assume the landlocked domestic contract supply market for iron ore and pellets is immune from the volatility found in Asia.

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To some extent that’s true, there isn’t a spot or futures market in the same way as we see in Asia, but the market is far from immune to global prices and prices have fallen in North America as they have elsewhere.

That makes Essar Steel’s decision to proceed with the massive $1.9 billion development of North America’s richest iron ore deposit across 150 kilometers of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range particularly brave in today’s market.

Source FT

Source: Financial Times

Essar Steel is said by the Financial Times to be ramping up construction on a $1.9 billion mining and processing facility, with a planned completion in the second quarter of 2016. It will be one of the largest construction projects in North America by capital expenditure according to the paper and Essar hopes to produce 7 million metric tons annually of high-grade iron ore pellets for 70-80 years from the resource. Read more

The selloff in Chinese stocks continued today and a major Japanese automaker has turned low steel prices into a cut in its supply costs.

Chinese Stock Market Still Falling

Chinese stocks plummeted Monday, erasing gains for the year, as fears about the deepening effects of a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy rattled investors world-wide.

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The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 8.5% at 3,209.91, bringing its losses since its mid-June peak to nearly 38%.

China’s main stock index has now tipped into negative territory for the year after gaining as much as 60% through its June peak. Benchmarks in Japan and Australia both shed nearly 4%.

At the heart of the selloff is the concern that the once-strong Chinese economy may be slowing down dramatically, which has triggered steep losses in global stock markets, commodities and emerging markets.

Toyota, Steel Suppliers Agree to Price Cut

Toyota Motor Corp. and major Japanese steel makers have agreed to lower prices for steel sheet for the April-September period, marking the first price cut in a year, industry sources told the Japan Times on Thursday.

Toyota and the steelmakers, including Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., reached the agreement as prices for iron ore and coal have dropped precipitously and are not expected to rise soon.

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John Correnti, an American steel executive who helped shift the domestic industry geographically and technologically, died Tuesday in Chicago.

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Correnti, 68, was chairman, founder and chief executive officer of Big River Steel LLC and was in Chicago for a board meeting of Navistar International Corp., the company said in a statement. The cause of death was not immediately provided.

Correnti was leading Big River Steel to build a $1.3 billion mill in Osceola, Ark., near the Mississippi River. The facility is planned to supply high-quality steel products to customers including automakers and energy companies.

Correnti served as CEO of Nucor Corp. from 1996 to 1999 and helped move the US steel industry away from its regional roots by expanding its reach to the South. Correnti also opened a steel mill for Severstal in Mississippi which was later sold to Steel Dynamics.

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Big River Steel released a statement saying, “Big River Steel will be one of many legacies John leaves with us all. John was a visionary, an innovator and a leader who dedicated his career to improving the steel industry and creating opportunities for those that worked within it.”

USW, ATI Digging in For Long Lockout

Picket lines staffed by locked out union workers appeared at several Allegheny Technologies, Inc. facilities this week. ATI has vowed to staff the plants with management and replacement workers and the United Steelworkers of America personnel locked out will be eligible for unemployment benefits during the lockout.

The two sides disagree about healthcare contributions for the union workers.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April 2014 upheld the bulk of the Security and Exchange Commission’s then-new Conflict Minerals Rule, but ruled a key disclosure requirement violated the First Amendment because it forced a company to “confess blood on its hands.”

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The same federal appeals court ruled against the disclosure requirement a second time Tuesday, saying an investigation requirement is fine, but disclosing that material remains untracked does not require an admission tantamount to guilt, when it comes to receiving raw materials from war-torn areas.

Disclosure of Unknown Origin

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act required companies to disclose whether any tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold (commonly known as 3TG), in their supply chains is connected to violent militia groups in Africa.

An SEC spokesman said the commission is reviewing Tuesday’s decision.

The three-judge appeals panel split 2-1, effectively siding with business groups in ruling that forcing companies to designate which products “could not be found to be ‘DRC conflict free’” is tantamount to requiring firms to criticize their own products.

Two judges appointed by Republican presidents voted in the majority and a recent appointee of President Barack Obama dissented.

Conflict Minerals Rule Still Intact

The court’s rulings did not overturn the entire Conflict Minerals Rule, it actually upheld requirements such as having companies investigate whether their products include the minerals and a requirement to file public reports on their investigations, a process that began last year.

One situation where a respondent could not confirm that all of its raw materials were DRC conflict free, was party supply retailer Party City, a company that filled out a conflict minerals compliance form and asked their suppliers where, exactly, all of the materials for their mylar balloons and other party supplies came from. Party City reported it received little response from its supply chain.

That was one of many cases that highlighted the difficulty of actually vetting and confirming supply chain compliance for the wide range of businesses that the Conflict Minerals Rule covers.

What Does This Mean For Conflict Minerals Compliance?

In a statement after the initial ruling against the SEC last April, the regulator indicated that companies are not required to identify products as “DRC conflict free,” having “not been found to be ‘DRC conflict free’” or “DRC conflict undeterminable.” The SEC also indicated that, pending further action, an independent private sector audit (“IPSA”) will not be required unless a company voluntarily elects to describe its own product as “DRC conflict free” in its Conflict Minerals Report. That statement is likely to remain in effect pending the outcome of further litigation. It also looks unlikely that the private sector audits will be required this year and, barring a legal settlement, likely most of next year.

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The SEC can petition the entire DC Circuit Appeals Court to hear the case en banc, a request that the court can decide whether or not to grant. The SEC can also appeal to the US Supreme Court no matter what the outcome is at the circuit court level. The business groups that challenged the Conflict Minerals Rule can ask the court to stay the entire law, as they did after the April decision, but it’s not likely that the court would grant such a request as a stay was not allowed after the initial decision.

Most larger companies — in a variety of industries — intend to continue implementing their 3TG traceability and responsible sourcing initiatives no matter what the outcome of the case concerning the DRC measure.

Indian steel companies are asking for safeguards and some US hedge funds are placing big bear bets on domestic oil prices.

Tata, SAIL Want Safeguard Duties

Indian steel companies reeling under mounting imports from China, South Korea and Japan have urged the government to impose safeguard duties, to protect the domestic industry from the onslaught of cheaper imports, the Economic Times reports. Safeguards are measures designed specifically to protect local industry that go beyond anti-dumping or countervailing duties as outlined by the World Trade Organization.

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Safeguard duties are levied on imports as a temporary measure by the government to protect the local industry when they perceive a threat from a sudden surge in imports. State-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and private steel makers such as Tata Steel have jointly filed a petition with the Director General of Safeguards (DGS) seeking the duties.

Hedge Funds Betting Against Oil

A relatively small group of hedge fund managers has placed a record bet on US oil prices declining further in the months ahead.

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Hedge funds and other money managers had accumulated gross short futures and options positions totaling 163 million barrels in the main NYMEX light sweet crude contract by Aug. 11, according to data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

A major gold bull reduced its investment in the largest gold ETF just in time, and a specialty steel maker locked workers out over healthcare contributions this week.

Paulson Partially Dodges Gold Bullet

Hedge fund Paulson & Co. cut its stake in the world’s biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund in the second quarter of 2015, after holding it unchanged for six straight quarters, just before prices took a tumble, a filing showed on Friday.

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The move came just before spot gold prices tumbled 6.6% in July, their weakest monthly performance in more than two years after a steep selloff in Shanghai and New York, and on expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise rates as early as September.

Paulson & Co., led by longtime gold bull John Paulson, cut its stake in SPDR Gold Trust by 1 million shares to 9.2 million shares worth $1.04 billion in the quarter ending June 30, according to the 13F-HR filing.

The sharp reduction came as SPDR holdings fell by 3.5% in the quarter

ATI Locks Out Workers Over Healthcare Premium Contributions

400 Workers protested outside of Allegheny Technologies, Inc.‘s plant in Beaver County, Pa. The workers were picketing a lock out of 2,200 United Steelworkers of America-represented employees at plants in six states today.

The disagreement between ATI and the union centers on employee health benefits. ATI had proposed monthly premium contributions starting at $125 a month and increasing to $215 by the end of a proposed four-year contract. That would be coupled with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

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Negotiations hit a wall last week when the Pittsburgh-based specialty steel manufacturer proposed a “last, best and final offer” to the union and threatened the lockout if workers did not accept the proposal by Monday.

The union balked at concessions sought by ATI.