Copper

stockquest/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Japan’s aluminum industry is considering crafting a set of quality assurance guidelines (on the heels of the Kobe Steel quality data falsification scandal), LME copper move further away from last week’s one-month low and Kobe Steel blames its plant managers for the data scandal.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Changes to Aluminum Industry in Japan?

On the heels of Kobe Steel’s quality data falsification scandal, many in Japan are asking the same question: how can we prevent the same thing from happening again?

The scandal has rocked Kobe Steel, the third-largest steelmaker in Japan. As a result, the Japanese aluminum industry is considering building a new set of quality assurance guidelines, Reuters reported.

Copper Moves Up

London copper moved up Monday, Reuters reported, powered by strong demand and a lagging U.S. dollar.

Copper moved up 0.7% to $6,832.50 a ton by 0719 GMT, according to the report, up from a one-month low last week of $6,761.50 a ton.

Kobe Steel Plant Managers Get Blame for Scandal

As with any scandal, designation of blame is inevitable — and vis-a-vis Kobe Steel’s quality data falsification scandal, Kobe is blaming its plant managers, according to The New York Times.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

According to an internal company report, plant managers were at the center of the issue — instead of scrapping products that fell below quality guidelines and manufacturing new ones, the plant managers signed off on the sub-standard metal products.

Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. imports of steel are up 19.4% through the first 10 months of the year, the European Union’s antitrust watchdog is eyeing ArcelorMittal’s bid to buy Ilva and London copper posted little movement Thursday.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Steel Import Market Share Hits 26% in October

According to data released by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), for the first 10 months of 2017, total and finished steel imports were 32,841,000 net tons (NT) and 25,375,000 NT, up 19.4% and 15.1%, respectively, from the same period in 2016.

In addition, the estimated finished steel import market share in October was 26% and is 27% for the year to date. 

EU to Look at ArcelorMittal’s Ilva Takeover Bid

The EU’s antitrust watchdog is taking a look at ArcelorMittal’s bid to buy Ilva, amid concerns that the purchase could stifle competition and lead to rising prices, the Associated Press reported.

According to the report, the EU Commission said Wednesday that it fears “the merger may reduce competition for a number of flat carbon steel products.”

London Copper Doesn’t Budge

It was a quiet Thursday for LME copper, as the metal traded just above the previous one-month low, Reuters reported.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

With light volumes, LME copper held at $6,856 a ton by 1:27 GMT, marking a 0.4% gain from the previous session, per the report.

Ezio Gutzemberg/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, China is looking to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make its case with respect to the ongoing aluminum foil dispute with the U.S., copper and nickel are up, and Kobe Steel executives are deciding whether or not to resign.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

China, the U.S. and the WTO

According to a Reuters report, China has asked the WTO report for consultations regarding the recent U.S. Department of Commerce antidumping decision on Chinese aluminum foil.

China’s Ministry of Commerce submitted the request for supplementary consultations under the WTO dispute resolution mechanism on Nov. 3, according to the report.

Copper, Nickel Rise With EV Optimism

Copper and nickel saw their fortunes rise on Monday, according to Reuters, backed by optimism regarding the electric vehicle market, pollution crackdown in China and global economic strength.

Nickel rose 10% last week to hits its highest price since June 2015.

Kobe Execs Consider Resignation

According to a Reuters report, Kobe Steel executives will decide whether or not to resign following the results of an independent probe into the firm.

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

The firm also plans on releasing an internal report regarding the company’s quality data falsification scandal, which has seen the company’s share price plummet in recent weeks and significantly dented the firm’s credibility in the global market.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, growth in China’s steel industry has slowed down significantly, U.S. steel production was up 8.6% year-over-year and a Russian firm launches a new copper and gold mine near the Chinese border.

Chinese Steel PMI Falls to 6-Month Low

The Chinese steel Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to a 6-month low this month as the government attempts to curb pollution, according to a Reuters report.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

This month, the PMI dropped to 52.3 from 53.7.

U.S. Steel Production Up 8.6%

Through the month of September, U.S. steel production was up 8.6% year-over-year, according to a report by the Northwest Indiana Times.

According to the report, citing stats from the World Steel Association, steel output rose by 5.6% internationally in September compared to September 2016.

Russia’s Norilsk Opens New Mine Near Chinese Border

The Russian firm Norilsk Nickel has launched a new copper, iron and gold mine near the Chinese border, according to Reuters.

The project, situated about 250 miles by rail from the border, will send iron ore exports to China.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Chinese copper demand continues to be strong. According to the report, Shanghai copper futures have surged 18% this year.

Andrey Kuzmin/Adobe Stack

This afternoon in metals news, European steel demand is expected to grow 2.3% this year, Bloomberg takes a look at the Trump administration’s “Made in America” pledge and Freeport-McMoRan is working with the Indonesian government to resolve a mining permit dispute.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

European Steel Demand to Grow 2.3%: Eurofer

The European steel association Eurofer predicts 2.3% growth in 2017 for European steel demand, according to a Reuters report.

The European steel industry is worth about 170 billion euros a year, according to the report.

Made in America?

Among other things, President Donald Trump has pushed a “Made in America” agenda, aiming to boost domestic industry.

But, in practice, has there been a rise in U.S.-based production? A Bloomberg report outlines the reality of rising steel imports and pipeline contracts increasingly being won by Russia’s Evraz.

Freeport, Indonesia Look to Settle Permit Dispute

Richard Adkerson, chief executive of copper miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc., said on Wednesday that the miner wants to avoid arbitration vis-a-vis a mining dispute in Indonesia.

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

Freeport is looking to renew the permit for its Grasberg copper and gold mine.

stockquest/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the chairman of Chinalco says Chinese aluminum demand growth will stay ahead of the country’s GDP, a hedge fund is suing Barclays for over $850 million related to copper trading losses and a Chinese investor is placing big bets on copper.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Chinese Aluminum Demand Growth

According to Chinalco, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, consumption of the metal will  grow 9-10% this year, Reuters reported.

According to the report, strong downstream demand is a primary factor behind the uptick.

Ge Honglin, chairman of Chinalco, told Reuters that demand growth is expected to rise faster than the country’s GDP in 2018. China is targeting GDP growth of around 6.5 percent this year, but has not yet set a 2018 goal, according to the report.

Red Kite Suing Barclays

A hedge fund is suing for over $850 million related to losses in copper trading, Reuters reported Monday.

The hedge fund, Red Kite, is suing Barclays, alleging that it manipulated the copper market and ultimately resulted in $850 million in losses for the hedge fund.

Futures of Chinese Copper

There has been a sharp rise in Chinese copper futures bets — why?

According to one source quoted by Kitco, a private coal mining industry investor in China, Gelin Dahua Futures Co Ltd, is behind the surge.

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

Gelin Dahua holds more than 35% of the open interest in copper contracts for the first half of 2018 on Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE), per exchange data referenced by Kitco.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the Kobe Steel saga continues, an Indian steel firm’s stock is up amid acquisition buzz and London copper holds steady.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Kobe Steel Faces Another Test

The fallout from Kobe Steel’s quality data falsification scandal continues, and according to Reuters there are concerns about the Japanese firm’s outstanding liabilities.

According to the Reuters report, the third-largest Japanese steelmaker has $3.3 billion cash in hand and $7.01 billion in debts as of the end of March.

Bhushan Steel Stock Surges

Indian firm Bhushan Steel saw its stock rise after news of a potential acquisition by ArcelorMittal, according to the Economic Times.

The Indian company’s stock rose 20% Monday amid buzz that ArcelorMittal joined the bidding, according to the report.

Copper Trades Steady

Copper has experienced a significant upward trend in October, rising from $6,518 on Sept. 20 to $7,008 on Oct. 20.

The metal did experience a dip last week, however, falling from $7,061 last Monday to $7,008 on Friday.

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

On Monday, copper held steady, according to Reuters, trading at $6,950.

Copper prices bolstered their previous rally with a second sharp price increase this month. Trading volumes remain strong, albeit lower than the previous price spike.

Copper prices breached the $7,000/metric ton level, trading again at 2015 levels. The price breach is relevant, as copper prices have passed the previous peak in September.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Source: MetalMiner analysis of FastMarkets

Copper prices retraced during September, falling by 4.6%. After the last copper price rise, copper prices increased by 9.4% this month. As the uptrend appears sustainable, we could still expect more upward movements for copper.

Besides strong trading volumes and bullish prices, macro indicators also now support copper prices.

According to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), copper faces a  75,000-ton deficit. The global copper supply has barely grown this year.

Meanwhile, Chinese demand remains strong. According to the Chinese Customs Department, Chinese copper imports rose by 430,000 metric tons in September. Copper imports increased by 26.5% on a year-to-year basis. The Chinese copper appetite also extends to copper concentrates, in which demand increased by 0.1 million metric tons this year.

Some analysts are calling copper “The Metal of the Future.” Copper demand will increase due to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). China serves as the world’s largest BEV market and appears to be  the most profitable one, too. According to Financial Times, Beijing has plans to reduce (and even ban) fossil fuel vehicles. Thus, demand for copper from BEVs will increase.

Industrial Metals Complex

The bullish trend applies not only to copper, but also for the base metals complex, in general. The DBB index remains in a clear uptrend. Both the short- and long-term trends suggest that base metals (and copper) remain bullish, and buying organizations may expect continued upward price movements.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of StockCharts

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

MetalMiner recently published its free 2018 Annual Outlook that covers copper price trends, as well as an industry outlook (and all the other base metals and steel forms). Understanding how to react to price changes is vital in a bullish market.

ronniechua/Adobe Stock

This afternoon in metals news, renegotiation efforts focused on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) appear to be at a standstill, Chile’s state copper commission boosts its 2018 copper forecast and a European agency advises plane manufacturers to suspended their use of products from embattled Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

NAFTA Deadlock

The fourth round of renegotiation talks regarding the 23-year-old NAFTA concluded yesterday, but the U.S., Mexico and Canada appear to be no closer to a consensus.

According to Bloomberg, initial hopes for a quick resolution have fizzled, as talks will now be extended into 2018 (which was previously hoped to be avoided, given the scheduled elections in each country next year).

The next round of talks is scheduled for Nov. 17-21 in Mexico.

Cochilco Forecasts Copper at Nearly $3/Pound in 2018

Chile’s state copper commission, Cochilco, on Wednesday put out a forecast for 2018 including a prediction of the average global copper price hitting $2.95/pound.

The new forecast is up significantly from Cochilco’s mid-year estimate of $2.68/pound. Greater Chinese demand is cited as a supporter of the global price.

Kobe Steel Saga Continues

The fallout from the Kobe Steel data falsification scandal continues, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) advised plane manufacturers to suspend their use of products from the firm, the third-largest steelmaker in Japan, according to CNN Money.

According to the report, EASA advised those manufacturers to find alternative suppliers and conduct a “thorough review of their supply chain.”

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

A number of global heavyweights use Kobe Steel products, including GM, Boeing, Ford and Toyota, according to the report.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Kobe Steel’s share price continues to plummet in the wake of its data falsification scandal, London copper hits a three-year high and palladium is having a strong 2017.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Kobe Steel Shares Hit Lowest Price Since 2012

Kobe Steel, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, continues to see its share price drop on the heels of its data falsification scandal.

The fallout from the scandal has already seen Kobe lose approximately $1.8 billion in market value, Reuters reported.

On Friday, Hiroya Kawasaki, Kobe’s chief executive, said about 500 companies received falsely certified products from Kobe, which was more than double a previously released number, according to the Reuters report.

LME Copper on the Rise

London copper is on the way up again, this time rising to hit a three-year high, Reuters reported.

The metal eclipsed the $7,000 mark, powered in part by good news on the Chinese economy, according to the report.

Palladium Powered by Automotive Demand

Recently, the palladium price recently eclipsed that of platinum for the first time in 16 years.

It’s been that kind of year for palladium.

Free Download: The October 2017 MMI Report

According to a CNNMoney report, 78% of palladium demand this year came from the automotive market.