This Morning in Metals: U.S. goods and services deficit hits $48.9B in December

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This morning in metals news, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the U.S. goods and services deficit for December, President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday night and the CEO of a Kentucky aluminum company is out.

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U.S. deficit climbs in December

The U.S. goods and services deficit reached $48.9 billion in December, according to the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, up from $43.7 billion in November.

December exports reached $209.6 billion, up $1.6 billion from November exports.

Meanwhile, December imports totaled $258.5 billion, up $6.8 billion from the previous month.

Trump delivers State of the Union

With recent trade agreements taking steps forward, namely in the form of the phase one trade deal with China and Congress’ passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), President Donald Trump took a victory lap during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“One of the biggest promises I made to the American people was to replace the disastrous NAFTA trade deal,” Trump said.

“In fact, unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason I decided to run for president. Following NAFTA’s adoption, our nation lost 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs. Many politicians came and went, pledging to change or replace NAFTA, only to do so and absolutely nothing happened. But unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises. We did our job.”

Although the USMCA is forecast to have a relatively modest impact, according to an analysis by the U.S. International Trade Commission, the deal does return a degree of certainty to North American trade relations after two-plus years of negotiations over updates to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

However, Canada’s legislature still must approve the USMCA for it to go into force.

Braidy Industries CEO out

Kentucky aluminum company Braidy Industries has forced out CEO and Board Chairman Craig Bouchard.

The company announced it named Board President Tom Modrowski interim CEO.

The company has been subject to some controversy over the last year, particularly with respect to a $200 million investment made in it by the previously sanctioned Russian aluminum giant Rusal. The U.S. lifted the sanctions in January 2019, a few months before the investment would be announced.

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As a result, Rusal acquired a 40% stake in the Braidy Atlas mill.

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