This Morning in Metals: Senate committee approval moves USMCA one step closer to ratification

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This morning in metals news, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) received a bipartisan push from the Senate Finance Committee, average retail gasoline prices in 2019 were down compared with the previous year and iron ore futures in China reached an over five-month high.

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Senate committee gives USMCA approval

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) inched closer to ratification when the Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly voted in favor of it Tuesday.

The White House and House Democrats reached an agreement on a revised version of the USMCA late last year; however, the deal must still be ratified with a vote in the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 in favor of USMCA, which would replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“This modernized trilateral trade agreement will open new markets for American exporters, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, grow the national economy and protect U.S. workers,” Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. “I expect the full Senate will act soon and that final approval of USMCA is just around the corner. That is good news for millions of farmers, manufacturers and workers in every corner of America.”

Retail gas prices down in 2019

While U.S.-Iran tensions have sent gas prices up in the early days of 2020, average retail gas prices were down in 2019 compared with 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Regular retail gas prices average $2.60 per gallon in 2019, down $0.11 from the 2018 average.

“Gasoline prices rose steadily during the first quarter of the year, rising from $2.24 on January 7 to $2.90/gal on May 6, before gradually declining through the rest of the year,” the EIA said. “Because the cost of crude oil accounts for about 52% of retail gasoline’s final cost, the price of gasoline generally follows movements in crude oil prices, which followed a similar price path during 2019.”

Iron ore futures rise to five-month high

Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose to an over five-month high this week, Reuters reported.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

According to Reuters, the most-active Dalian iron ore contract for May surged 2.1% on Wednesday to 680 yuan per ton (U.S. $97.89 per ton).

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