This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Imports Down 26% in September

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This morning in metals, U.S. imports of steel are down by 26%, metal prices have gotten a boost from a softer dollar and ArcelorMittal reported its third-quarter results.

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Steel Imports in the U.S.

U.S. imports of steel were down 26% in September on a year-over-year basis, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

MetalMiner’s Take: The other half of the story regarding imports relates to U.S. steel production, which has increased.

In fact, the U.S. has produced 3.5 million more tons of steel this year through Oct. 27, as compared to the same time frame (Jan. 1-Oct. 27) last year, just as the U.S. has imported 3.5 million fewer tons. U.S. mills have finally achieved an 80% capacity utilization rate, the first time that has occurred since April 2012. The Department of Commerce report on tariffs pointed to 80% capacity utilization rates as the minimum level needed to maintain a healthy steel industry.

Metals Rise on Dollar’s Drop

As a result of a softening dollar, a number of metals saw upward price movement, Reuters reported.

LME aluminum, for example, was up 1.1%, according to the report.

MetalMiner’s Take: Some kind of bounce-back was inevitable, both to the ever-strengthening dollar and to the correspondingly weakening commodities.

All metals have drifted off in the last week or so as trade news has been generally bearish and the dollar has remained strong. It is fair to say the U.S. economy is in the driver’s seat as far as global growth and sentiment is concerned; as it is showing little sign of abating, we can expect commodities to be broadly supported by generally tight supply markets and continued solid demand. Short-term price falls have rebounded somewhat this week and should remain supported by the broadly positive supply-demand picture, despite the noise of tariffs and trade wars.

ArcelorMittal Releases Q3 Results

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal is optimistic about its financial prospects over the next few months, Reuters reported, as U.S. tariffs on steel continue to support higher prices of the metal.

“As anticipated market conditions in the third quarter remained favourable, resulting in significantly improved EBITDA for the first nine months compared with 2017. We continue to see robust real demand and healthy utilization rates across all steel segments,” said Lakshmi N. Mittal, ArcelorMittal chairman and CEO, in a release.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2019 buying strategies for carbon steel

The firm reported Q3 2018 EBITDA of $2.73 billion, up from $1.92 billion in Q3 2017.

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