This Morning in Metals: China Iron Ore Futures Make Gains

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This morning in metals news, China iron ore futures hit a two-week high, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the first consultations under the revised U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) and hot-rolled coil inventories in China dipped for a third straight week.

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Iron Ore Futures Rise

China iron ore futures rose to a two-week high, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the May 2019 iron ore contract picked up 1.5% to reach 627 yuan ($93.32) per ton.

U.S. Requests First Consultations in Revised KORUS Era

The USTR announced Friday that it has requested the first consultations with South Korea since the institution of the revised KORUS.

The revised free trade agreement with South Korea came into effect in September 2018 after being signed by Presidents Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in; KORUS was originally introduced in 2012.

“At issue is Korea’s non-compliance with KORUS Article 16.1.3, which states, in relevant part, that a party in an administrative hearing related to competition must ‘have a reasonable opportunity to… review and rebut the evidence and any other collected information on which the determination may be based,'” the USTR said in a statement. “Following extensive efforts to resolve this concern, USTR is requesting consultations at this time because recently drafted amendments to Korea’s ‘Monopoly Regulations and Fair Trade Act’ fail to address U.S. concerns that KFTC hearings continue to deny U.S. firms due process rights under the KORUS agreement that are necessary to secure a fair competition hearing in Korea.”

HRC Inventories Down in China

In other China news, the country’s inventories of hot-rolled coil have declined for the third straight week, according to Shanghai Metals Market.

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According to the report, HRC inventories were 3.64 million tons as of March 14, down 1.1% from the previous week and down 4.7% from the same period in 2018.

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