Taras Berezowksy is off today, so I will be your substitute guide for another drama-filled week in commodity-traded metals! A lot happened. A nasty rebar dispute threatened a 20+year chummy relationship. The deadline for conflict minerals compliance looms like the Sword of Damocles over procrastinators like me. Fracking in China could save the world and I went to a 3D design and construction conference.
1.) USA and Mexico: No Longer Rebar BFFs!
NAFTA stopped being polite and started getting real this week as neighbors who share a border and a love of tex-mex cuisine, the US and Mexico, revealed strained trade relations over a recent decision by the Commerce Dept. to slap 66% duties on Mexican imports of rebar, that excellent steel wire product that gets embedded in concrete to help hold up buildings and bridges. Turkey got their wrists slapped, too, albeit at a much lower duty.
Mexican rebar manufacturer Deacero didn’t take that very well and claimed the duties violate free trade principles. Deacero also sort of sounds like Dos a Cero, the final score the US National Soccer Team has beaten Mexico by the last two times they have played.
2.) I Told You The Conflict Minerals Deadline Was Coming Up!
Been putting off complying with the new conflict minerals rule? It’s understandable. With summer approaching you’ve got to fill up that empty propane tank on the grill, clean up the yard and, well, didn’t that rule get overturned anyway? Turns out, only partially. Check out our white papers on compliance and our extensive coverage of the issue.
Put down that net you pick the leaves out of the pool with, the May 31 compliance deadline still stands so compliance with the SEC’s conflict mineral rule is less than a month away! Are you ready? Taras asked Lawrence Heim, director of The Elm Consulting Group International LLC/Elm Sustainability Partners LLC, for his Top 3 Priorities list for manufacturers to get done for conflict mineral compliance for all you procrastinators out there. Just don’t forget to pre-age the envelope and postdate the check.
3.) China + Fracking = World Prosperity
I know! I was as surprised as you, but MetalMiner Editor-At-Large Stuart Burns makes a compelling case that hydraulic fracturing in China, whose government aims to achieve output of 6.5 billion cubic meters of liquid natural gas by 2015 and as much as 100 billion cubic meters by 2020, could drive international investment and create both an infrastructure and equipment boom even half a world away from the world’s most populous nation. Get on that, China.
4.) Jeff’s Very Own Post!
They let me out of the office this week – always a questionable proposition – to attend the BIM Forum, a 3D design and construction roadshow in Boston that showed the latest process technologies that are saving tens of millions in construction costs on the most complicated building projects. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, the process of creating a 3D, parametric model of a construction project before you even break ground. Adoption has eclipsed 65% in the US. We also talked about wonky buildings and “secret sauce” a lot.
We still have price forecasts! Become a full MetalMiner member and get ’em while they’re hot. We had a webinar on all-in aluminum contract pricing this week, as well. Raul De Frutos explains the all-in concept very well in this post about the problems plaguing aluminum purchasers and traders today. See ya next week, folks.