This Morning in Metals: U.S. imports of blooms, billets and slabs surge

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steel imports

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. has seen rising imports of blooms, billets and slabs; the power sector’s coal consumption dropped significantly in the first half of this year; and copper prices trended sideways this week.

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U.S. imports of blooms, billets and slabs rise

U.S. imports of blooms, billets and slabs surged during the July-September 2020 period compared with the October 2019-June 2020 period, per Steel Imports Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system.

Total imports of blooms, billets and slabs jumped 489% to 50,110 tons during the July-September 2020 period.

Meanwhile, imports of blooms, billets and slabs from India jumped 2,954% to 18,333 tons during the July-September 2020 period.

In other SIMA trend data, U.S. imports of steel piling from China jumped 532%. Imports of tin plate from China jumped 448% to 6,152 metric tons.

Coal consumption declines

The U.S. power sector’s coal consumption fell by 30% during the first half of 2020 compared with the first half of 2019, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.

“After setting an annual record of 1,045 MMst in 2007, coal consumption in the electric power sector has been declining,” the EIA said. “This decline is happening as many coal-fired power plants are retiring or are converting to natural gas, driven by tighter air emission standards and the decreased cost-competitiveness of coal relative to other resources.”

Copper trends sideways

As the U.S. awaits the final results of the 2020 presidential election, the copper price has taken a breather.

The copper price closed Wednesday at $6,760 per metric ton after closing last week at $6,706 per metric ton.

However, over a one-month period, the copper price is up 3.69%.

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