This Morning in Metals: China to halve tariffs on some U.S. products

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This morning in metals news, China will slash tariffs it had imposed on a number of U.S. imports, copper’s slide continues and stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu reported a stainless steel deliveries last year.

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China to cut tariffs on U.S. goods in half

After a couple of years spent exchanging tariff imposition announcements with the U.S., China this week announced it would cut some tariffs on U.S. goods in half.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said the reduced tariffs rates, which will go into effect Feb. 14, aim to “promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-US economic and trade relations.”

The tariffs cuts will apply to the products subjected to 10% and 5% duties as of Sept. 1, 2019.

Copper continues slide

Amid a strong U.S. dollar and increasing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in China, copper prices have taken a dive.

LME three-month copper was down to $5,740/mt as of Thursday, Feb. 6, marking a 6.8% decline from a month ago, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Outokumpu stainless steel deliveries fall

Stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu reported Q4 2019 stainless steel deliveries amounting to 458,000 tons, down from 534,000 tons in Q4 2018. Full-year 2019 deliveries reached 2.20 million tons, down from 2.43 million tons in 2018.

The firm reported adjusted EBITDA of €73 million in Q4 2019, down from €89 million in Q4 2018. Full-year 2019 adjusted EBITDA was €263 million, down from €485 million in 2018.

“In 2019, the European steel industry continued to suffer from the surge of imports and unprecedented price pressure caused by the US steel tariffs,” President and CEO Roeland Baan wrote in the company’s earnings release. “It is evident that the EU needs to implement stronger safeguards and other trade defense measures to ensure a level playing field for all market participants.”

In the stainless steel sector, Baan highlighted increasing competition and a growing demand for more environmentally friendly production.

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“The dynamics in the stainless steel market have shifted as a result of trade wars and intensified Asian competition,” Baan continued. “Furthermore, there is an increased demand for organizations to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to climate change mitigation. These are key targets also for Outokumpu. The high recycled content of 90% in our stainless steel production, continuous energy efficiency improvements and decreasing CO2 emissions support our position as a frontrunner in sustainable stainless steel manufacturing.”

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