This Morning in Metals: LME copper price rises to seven-month high

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This morning in metals news: copper prices surged to their highest level in seven months; the acquisition of British Steel is progressing, according to prospective Chinese buyer Jingye; and USTR Robert Lighthizer communicated with Mexico regarding USMCA implementation.

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Copper prices rise

Copper prices jumped to a seven-month high Tuesday, a rise powered by concerns over supply, Reuters reported.

The LME copper price reached as high as $6,223/mt Tuesday, according to Reuters, before falling below $6,200/mt as of 1500 GMT.

British Steel takeover process continues

After talks with an arm of Turkey’s military pension fund fizzled earlier this year, China’s Jingye emerged as the favorite to take over the ailing British Steel.

British Steel was put into forced liquidation in May, raising the specter of thousands of potential job losses across the supply chain.

The BBC reported Jingye has pushed back against a report in the Sunday Telegraph — which said the deal was in danger — stating that its takeover bid is making progress toward necessary approvals for the acquisition.

Lighthizer to Mexico: USMCA is ‘great agreement’ for U.S., Mexico

With the White House and House Democrats recently reaching a deal on revisions to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), USTR Robert Lighthizer addressed Mexico’s concerns regarding a labor provision in the revised deal.

Lighthizer responded to a letter sent by Jesús Seade Kuri, Mexico’s under secretary for North American and chief trade negotiator for North America, drawing attention to the USMCA provision calling for up to five Department of Labor attachés “to work with their Mexican counterparts, workers, and civil society groups on implementation of the Mexican labor reform, including by providing technical assistance and disbursing capacity building funds, and provide assistance to the new U.S. government interagency labor committee.”

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“These personnel will not be ‘labor inspectors’ and will abide by all relevant Mexican laws,” Lighthizer wrote.

“As you know, the USMCA’s first-of-its-kind, facility-specific, rapid-response mechanism allows an independent, three-person panel chosen by both Parties to request on-site verifications in any of our three countries when there are good faith questions about whether workers at a particular facility are being denied key labor rights. But those verifications will be conducted by the independent panelists not by the labor attachés.

“USMCA is a great agreement for the United States and Mexico. I look forward to working with you and your colleagues to ensure that the agreement enters into force as quickly as possible.”

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