This Morning in Metals: Japan’s Steel Production Falls 1.9% in FY 2018

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This morning in metals news, Japan saw its steel production fall over fiscal year 2018, the general counsel for the United States Trade Representative is leaving the administration and U.S. housing starts in March were down 14.2% year over year.

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Japanese Steel Production Drops in FY 2018

Japanese steel production for fiscal year 2018 fell 1.9%, according to data from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation cited by S&P Global Platts.

During the fiscal year, which ended March 31, Japanese steelmakers produced 102.89 million metric tons of steel, according to the report.

USTR Legal Counsel Steps Away Amid U.S.-China Talks

As trade talks between the U.S. and China appear to be heading closer to their final stages, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is losing a legal adviser.

USTR General Counsel Stephen Vaughn is leaving his position in the coming weeks and will be replaced by Joseph Barloon.

“From the beginning of the Trump Administration and the many years I have worked with him before, Stephen Vaughn has been a principled leader, a trusted advisor, and an expert attorney advancing fair trade in the interest of working Americans,” USTR Robert Lighthizer said in a prepared statement. “Stephen has played a central role in shaping and implementing the President’s trade policies, especially related to China and the World Trade Organization. I am deeply grateful for Stephen’s service to our country, including his leadership as Acting USTR during the first few months of the Administration. Stephen and his family have my warmest wishes as Stephen moves on to his next venture.”

March Housing Starts Take a Dive

U.S. housing starts in March again dropped off, hitting 1.14 million for the month. The March total marked a 0.3% from the revised February 2019 estimate.

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Meanwhile, privately-owned housing starts were down 14.2% compared with March 2018 starts.

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