This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Mills’ November Shipments Up 5.6% Year Over Year

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. steel shipments in November surged on a year-over-year basis, the next chief of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metals Corp. hopes to make the company the world’s No. 1 producer and U.S.-China trade talks could formally continue later this month.

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Steel Shipments Jump in November

According to a report by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) this week, November shipments of steel from U.S. steel mills were up 5.6% from November 2017, hitting 7.8 million tons.

November shipments were down from October totals, however, by 4.2%.

Top Spot

Japanese firm Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp., which will undergo a name change this year (to Nippon Steel Corp.), has a new chief.

The company announced Thursday that Executive Vice President Eiji Hashimoto will become the firm’s new president as of April 1 (when the firm’s name change will go into effect), The Japan Times reported.

According to the report, Hashimoto indicated a desire to make Nippon the world’s No. 1 steel producer.

Trade Talks to Continue?

Trade delegations from the U.S. and China met over three days this week, building on talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit late last year.

According to a Reuters report, however, trade representatives from the two countries might not be done talking this month.

Per the report, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a top Chinese trade official will “most likely” come to Washington, D.C. later this month for additional talks, as the two countries look for a deal to settle the trade tensions that escalated last year. The two countries traded a total of $360 billion in tariffs last year.

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However, time is quickly running out on the 90-day negotiating window set by Trump and Xi at G20, at the end of which the U.S. will move forward with a previously planned tariff rate increase.

If a deal is not reached by March 1, the U.S. plans to increase the tariff rate on the $200 billion in tariffs imposed in September. The tariff rate on the affected products had previously been set to make the jump from 10% to 25% as of Jan. 1, but the U.S. delayed the increase following the G20 talks.

In addition, China agreed to temporarily slash its tariff on imported U.S.-made automobiles, bringing it back down from 40% to 15%.

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