This Morning in Metals: U.S. steel imports fall 10% in January

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This morning in metals news, U.S. imports of steel were down last month, miner BHP recently released its half-year financial results and Moody’s assesses the impact of the coronavirus around the world.

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U.S. steel imports fall 10%

U.S. steel imports in January fell 10% compared with imports in January 2019, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The U.S. imported 3.14 million net tons of steel last month.

BHP releases half-year financial results

Miner BHP released financial results for the half-year ending Dec. 31, 2019, reporting underlying EBITDA of $12.1 billion, up 15% from the same period in 2018.

“Despite near term uncertainty – due to the coronavirus outbreak, trade policy and geopolitics – we remain convinced about the positive underlying fundamentals of our commodities,” BHP CEO Mike Henry said. “We see enormous potential to reliably deliver exceptional financial and operational performance, and to grow value and returns.”

Italy hit hardest by coronavirus in Europe

In its Feb. 27 Credit Outlook, Moody’s surveyed the coronavirus’ impact on Italy’s economy.

“Before the outbreak, we had forecasted only a marginal acceleration in growth this year, to 0.5% from the 0.2% recorded in 2019 (and zero annual growth in fourth-quarter 2019). The outbreak increases the downside risks to our baseline,” Moody’s stated. “Lombardy (Baa2 stable), Veneto (Baa3 stable) and Emilia Romagna, the most hit regions, account for nearly 41% of Italy’s GDP and more than half of exports. Tourism, one of the sectors likely to be most affected, accounts for around 6% of the value added of Italy’s non-financial business economy.

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“Our current assumption is that the economic effects of the outbreak – channelled through weaker private consumption, postponed investment decisions and lower exports – will continue for a number of weeks, after which they will tail off and normal economic activity will resume, gathering pace in the second half of the year.”

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