This Morning in Metals: Chinese Steel Futures Hit 4 1/2-Year High

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This morning in metals news, Chinese steel futures hit a 4 1/2-hear high, European aluminum alloy prices are heading downward and the latest round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ended without any major breakthroughs.

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Chinese Steel Futures Continue to Rise

Chinese steel futures rose to a 4 1/2-year high after a furnace fire inspired fears that increased safety inspections could lead to a tightening of supply, according to Reuters.

Some rebar futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose by as much as 5%, according to the report.

Approximately 4,500-5,000 tonnes of daily steel output at Benang — a subsidiary of government-backed Benxi Iron and Steel Group Co. — could be affected by the fire, Reuters reported.

European Aluminum Alloy Prices Under Pressure

As buyers negotiate fourth-quarter prices, European aluminum alloy prices are trending downward, according to Platts.

According to the report, competition for sales resulted in 226 ingot sales prices falling by about $24/metric ton.

NAFTA: Round 2

The second round of NAFTA talks traveled to Mexico, running from Sept. 1-5. However, on the heels of renewed threats from President Donald Trump on the future of the trade deal, no major breakthroughs were made this time around, according to Bloomberg.

The U.S. is seeking to address ballooning trade deficits with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, and Trump is looking to fulfill a promise to either favorably renegotiate the deal or pull the U.S. out entirely (in January, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP).

According to the Bloomberg, officials said some progress has been been on some issues, but the parties have “yet to agree on any major contentious issue.”

The December target date for a resolution seems too ambitious, at this point, officials added.

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A third round of talks is currently scheduled to take place in Canada later this month.

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