This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel releases Q4, full-year 2019 results

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This morning in metals news, U.S. Steel’s latest financial release reflects a difficult 2019, Brexit is near and copper continues its slide.

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U.S. Steel reports Q4, full-year 2019 financials

U.S. Steel posted net losses of $642 million in 2019, down from gains of $1.1 billion in 2018.

Meanwhile, the steelmaker posted net losses of $109 million in Q4 2019 compared with gains of $324 million in Q4 2018.

“We are pleased to deliver better than expected results to end the year and are excited to turn the page to 2020 where we will continue to transition the business towards our future,” U. S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt said. “2019 was a year of notable strategic progress and we took swift action to reposition the business … we achieved $75 million of run-rate fixed cost reductions, we demonstrated flexibility by adjusting our 2020 capital spending to prioritize strategic investments, and we de-risked strategy execution by raising $1.1 billion of incremental capital.”

Brexit hour approaches

Over three years after the U.K.’s referendum, in which voters were asked to decide whether the U.K. would remain in the E.U. or not, the U.K. will officially leave tonight.

The U.K. is scheduled to officially leave the E.U. at 23:00 GMT today. According to the BBC, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to release a video message prior to the withdrawal, in which he will refer to the event as a “new dawn.”

However, after withdrawal the U.K. will enter a transitional period vis-a-vis its relationship with the E.U., during which existing trade and movement rules will still apply, until the end of this year.

In that time, the U.K. aims to negotiate a new trade deal with the E.U., of which it had been a member for 47 years.

Copper continues to fall

LME copper continues to slump, falling for a record 12th straight day, Bloomberg reported.

According to the report, copper has dropped 11% since Jan. 20, after which the coronavirus health crisis has intensified.

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On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a public health emergency.

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