This Morning in Metals: Iron Ore Prices Surge

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This morning in metals news, iron ore prices are up, a Kentucky company announces an expansion, and Canada will expand its targeted tariff relief as part of its ongoing efforts to tackle the U.S.’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

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Iron Ore Ticks Up

Prices for mid- and high-grade iron ores surged Thursday, Business Insider Australia reported.

Benchmark 62% fines jumped 4.5% and higher-grade ore was up 1.9%, according to the report.

As noted yesterday, Chinese steel prices hit a five-week high.

MetalMiner’s Take: Despite the recent short-term shift in Chinese steel prices, the downtrend still appears sharper.

Prices usually tend to react to economic stimulus, but this reaction lasts just 1-2 weeks.

Chinese steel prices have showed weakness during most of 2018. It should be noted, with the winter heating season underway, prices decreased in 2017 during the winter season.

Kobe Steel Announces Bowling Green Expansion

Kobe Steel announced this week that its subsidiary Kobeloco Aluminum Products and Extrusions will invest $42 million toward the expansion of its plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

According to the company announcement, the expansion is expected to create about 90 jobs.

The plant manufactures and sells bumper materials and car frame materials.

“These aluminum extruded products are increasingly being used in cars,” the company release states. “In November 2018, KPEX began integrated production, ranging from melting and casting to the final manufacturing process of fabrication.”

MetalMiner’s Take: Manufacturing organizations have undoubtedly faced challenges as a result of tariffs, mostly in the form of volatile prices.

Clearly, some see advantages in expanding operations to serve strong domestic demand.

In January, MetalMiner will continue its coverage on the impact of tariffs on manufacturing, with an emphasis on whether or not U.S. companies have expanded or will grow U.S. operations as a result of the maker-to-user movement.

Canada to Expand Targeted Tariff Relief

Earlier this week, the Canadian Department of Finance announced expanded targeted tariff relief for the country’s aluminum and steel businesses.

Canada responded to the U.S.’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum with reciprocal tariffs. However, in an attempt to offer relief to domestic industry, the department announced it will provide “new targeted surtax relief on imports of steel and aluminum products, for specific companies facing particular circumstances, such as contractual obligations, and on shipments that were in transit before provisional safeguards were imposed.”

“Canada’s response to unjustified and counterproductive U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum began on July 1, 2018, when the Government began applying dollar-for-dollar, reciprocal countermeasures on $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States,” a Department of Finance release states.

“The measures below are a continuation of the Government’s balanced response—one that will support Canadian producers and manufacturers, while the Government works toward the complete repeal of all U.S. tariffs of Canadian steel and aluminum.”

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A full list of the products covered by Canada’s remission order can be found on the Department of Finance Canada website.

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