This Morning in Metals: Chinese steelmakers Ansteel, Ben Gang to merge

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This morning in metals news: two Chinese steelmakers are merging to form the world’s third-largest steelmaker; the LME aluminum price lost some ground last week; and, lastly, July construction employment continued to lag in the U.S.

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Major Chinese steelmakers merge

China map

Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

Two Chinese steelmakers are merging to form the world’s third-largest steelmaking company, state-run news outlet Xinhua reported Friday.

Ansteel and Ben Gang Group Corporation signed a merger deal Friday, Xinhua reported.

Ansteel will have annual production capacity of 63 million metric tons after the merger. Furthermore, the firm is targeting capacity of 70 million metric tons of crude steel by 2025.

Aluminum price dips

Meanwhile, aluminum prices remain elevated, but they took a step back last week.

The LME three-month aluminum price closed last week at $2,552 per metric ton, down from $2,626 per metric ton to close last Monday. The price remains up by nearly 4.5% on a month-over-month basis.

Construction employment lags behind

As the construction sector faces ever-increasing input costs, it also has an employment problem.

According to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America, U.S. construction employment in July fell below pre-pandemic levels in 36 states.

“This data shows that full recovery remains elusive for construction in most states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In fact, the fast-spreading COVID-19 delta variant may make it harder to find employees eligible to work on restricted sites and may also depress demand if some owners defer projects.”

From February 2020 through July 2021, Texas lost the most construction sector jobs — 56,200, or 7.2%. Louisiana recorded the largest loss as a percentage, shedding 15.2% of its sector’s jobs (i.e., 21,000 jobs).

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