This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Announces Idling of Plants

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This morning in metals news, U.S. Steel announced it would idle some of its facilities, China has lowered its tariff rates on countries other than the U.S. and General Motors recently announced a $150 million investment in its Flint Assembly plant.

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U.S. Announces Plant Idlings

U.S. Steel announced this week it would continue a planned maintenance outage at one facility and would temporarily idle a blast furnace at its Gary Works facility.

“In response to current market conditions, we are taking actions aligned with our strategy by adjusting our global blast furnace footprint,” the steelmaker said in a release. “We are idling two blast furnaces in the United States and one blast furnace in Europe to better align our global production with our order book.”

The steelmaker will continue a planned maintenance outage at its Great Lakes B2 blast furnace, which started last week.

“Based on current market conditions, we expect the B2 blast furnace to remain idled after the completion of the planned outage,” the company said.

In addition, the steelmaker will idle a south blast furnace at its Gary Works facility.

“As a result of these footprint actions, we expect to decrease monthly blast furnace production capacity by approximately 200,000 – 225,000 tons beginning in July,” the company added. “If both furnaces remain idled for the remainder of the year, we expect full year Flat-Rolled shipments to third party customers to be approximately 11.0 million tons.  We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve.”

China Lowers Tariffs on Other Countries

As the U.S. and China move toward a resumption of trade talks this month, China has lowered its tariff rates for some other countries, CNBC reported citing an analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

According to the report, since the start of 2018 China’s tariffs on U.S. goods have increased to 20.7%, which tariffs on products from other WTO countries has fallen to an average of 6.7%.

The full Peterson Institute for International Economics analysis can be found here.

Last month, the U.S. raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products, to which China responded with tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods.

GM Announces Flint Assembly Investment

Automaker GM recently announced plans to invest $150 million in its Flint Assembly plant aimed at expanding its full-size pickup truck production capacity.

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Last month, GM announced an expansion of pickup production at its plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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