This Morning in Metals: Aluminum sector CEOs express opposition to return of Section 232 aluminum tariff for Canada, Mexico

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This morning in metals news: CEOs across the aluminum industry supply chain sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to voice their opinion about a potential reimposition of aluminum tariffs on aluminum from Canada and Mexico; the International Aluminum Institute recently released global production figures for May; and the Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil and natural gas production hit record highs last year.

Aluminum industry CEOs reiterate stance against reimposition of Section 232 tariffs

On the heels of reports indicating the Trump administration is set to reimpose Section 232 aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico — after having rescinded them in May 2019 — a group of aluminum sector CEOs penned a letter to USTR Robert Lighthizer expressing their opposition.

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“The integrated North American aluminum supply chain has been a crucial element of the U.S. aluminum industry’s ability to invest and grow over the past several decades,” the letter reads. “The U.S. aluminum industry needs a reliable source of input aluminum material to manufacture semi-fabricated products like aluminum foil, sheet, plate, wire, extrusions and other products. Even at full capacity, U.S. primary aluminum smelters can only meet about one-third of the demand for this vital material. The aluminum industry has no choice but to import a significant amount of primary aluminum to meet demand – the only question is from where?”

Global aluminum production hits 5.48M tons in May

Global aluminum production totaled 5.48 million tons in May, according to recent reporting from the International Aluminum Institute, up from 5.27 million tons the previous month and 5.41 million tons in May 2019.

Chinese production reached an estimated 3.11 million tons, up slightly from the previous month and flat on a year-over-year basis.

EIA: U.S. crude oil, natural gas production reach record highs in 2019

According to the EIA, U.S. crude oil and natural gas production reached record highs last year, paced by more efficient output from fewer rigs and wells.

“Increases in drilling efficiency pushed U.S. crude oil and natural gas production to establish new records of 12.2 million barrels per day (b/d) and 111.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), respectively, in 2019,” the EIA reported. “Using preliminary data for 2019, the average active rig count per month was 943, and the average count of new wells drilled per month was 1,400, according to Baker Hughes rig data and IHS Markit well data.”

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In 2019, an average rig drilled 1.5 wells per month, the EIA reported, down from the 1986 peak of 3.6 wells per rig per month.

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