This Morning in Metals: Iron Ore Enters Bear Market, ITC Ruling on Solar Cells Imports

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This morning in metals news, the International Trade Commission rules that imports of solar cells are hurting U.S. manufacturers, iron ore enters a bear market and the UN proposes that businesses take responsibility for environmental pollution.

A Bear Market for Iron Ore

The price of iron ore has undergone the biggest weekly fall in 16 months, Bloomberg reports. Having slipped into a bear market, the metal was trading at $63.56/ton on Friday, more than 20% lower than its August 21 high of $79.93/ton.

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We may see this price slump to continue for the near future. Some expect the price of iron ore to drop to the $50s in the fourth quarter. If China’s steel production cuts do go into effect as planned this winter, the country’s steel output may decrease as much as 30 million tons, thus cutting iron consumption by 50 million tons.

End of the U.S. Solar Boom?

The U.S. International Trade Commission voted in a 4-0 decision on Friday that the U.S. solar energy industry is being hurt by foreign overcapacity and cheap solar cell imports, the Washington Post reports. However, the proposed 40-cent-per-watt tariff on solar cells would double the price of solar panels, putting pressure on the rest of the U.S. solar industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, the largest U.S. solar trade group, has criticized the ITC’s ruling, calling the petition one “which almost the entire rest of the solar industry is in agreement in opposition.

UN Speaks Out on Pollution

Businesses need to take responsibility for environmental pollution, the United Nations has said.

At a sustainable development conference at Columbia University, the UN environmental chief Erik Solheim stated, “The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized.”

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According to the World Health Organization, pollution is now to blame for one in four deaths of children under the age of five.

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