Author Archives: Fouad Egbaria

misunseo/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner:

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

  • Global steel production contracted in October, according to the World Steel Association.
  • We looked back at some of the most-viewed MetalMiner stories from November.
  • Global aluminum production rose in October.
  • Earlier this week, we released our Monthly Metal Outlook forecast report.
  • General Motors and Isuzu are teaming up to build a new Ohio plant via their DMAX joint venture.
  • MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller took a look at the relationship between gold prices and the U.S. dollar.

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to take a look back at some of the commentary here on MetalMiner from this calendar year.

One such example is our coverage of the “skills gap” in U.S. manufacturing was the subject of a recent webinar hosted by Avetta with MetalMiner’s participation.

Earlier this year, I visited the Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center, where I spoke with founder Matt Runfola, students and instructors about the state of the skills gap in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Revisit the full story below (the original was published Aug. 23):


Standing on an otherwise quiet stretch of Ravenswood Avenue on Chicago’s North Side — with a green barrier of vegetation obscuring the Metra tracks on the other side of the street — one can hear faint sounds of hard work being done.

Need buying strategies for steel? Request your two-month free trial of MetalMiner’s Outlook

The Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center, located at 6433 N. Ravenswood Ave. in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Fouad Egbaria/MetalMiner

In a building that was once home to the Chicago Radio Laboratory in the 1920s, 6433 N. Ravenswood Ave. in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood is now home to the Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center (CIADC).

Inside, one finds a variety of work being done by a diverse group of people: teenagers, retirees, artists, and individuals simply looking to learn how to make things or try something new.

Under the watchful eyes of instructors, high school students busy themselves in the welding shops, wielding welding torches as sunlight peeks cautiously into the workspace on a pleasant August morning.

On the second floor, students of all ages work with wood, carving and cutting and measuring amid the pervading aroma of sawdust.

Another floor up and one finds students learning the tricks of casting, with the results of that work scattered about the workspace: a defiantly clenched fist, stately busts and metallic chicken feet.

Founded in 2015 by Matt Runfola — a self-proclaimed steel guy who says his motto is “fabrication, fabrication, fabrication” — students come to the CIADC from as far north as the Illinois-Wisconsin border and as far south as western Indiana to learn how to weld, cast and woodwork under the tutelage of experts.

The workspace at 6433 N. Ravenswood Ave. houses tools like a CNC router, an English wheel, and casting molds of varying shapes and sizes.

In short, it is a place of innumerable possibilities, brought into the world by innumerable creative and technical decisions.

Chicago’s North Side is not exactly known for its industrial character — so how did this workspace across the street from Metra tracks come to be?

The CIADC’s creative missions finds its roots in the art of disassembly.


CIADC founder Matt Runfola shows off the nonprofit’s CNC router. Fouad Egbaria/MetalMiner

As a child growing up in rural upstate New York — “farm country” he notes, populated by “mechanical stuff galore” — Runfola enjoyed taking things apart.

“I just had an affinity for having my hands on stuff taking things apart,” Runfola said. “I raced motorcycles when I was young. Part of racing dirt bikes is you’re constantly breaking them, so it’s a lot of opportunity to pull them apart.

“I think it was with that the realization [came] that someone, somewhere designed everything on that motorcycle. I was very intimately involved with tearing that motorcycle apart and putting it back together week in and week out.”

That love of tinkering inspired a curiosity about design, eventually leading him to the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he got his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Runfola wasn’t satisfied with “typical engineering” — he gravitated toward jobs that gave him access to shops where things are made, working on designing and prototyping.

“I started to whet my appetite with creativity,” Runfola said. “It was like ‘hey, design can be used to make things that I want to make, not just make things that other people made.”

That interest led him to the world of custom furniture and sculpture, which he worked in on the side. He also worked as a manufacturing engineer for a company that designs skateboards and snowboards.

But that experience prompted him to reconsider the best outlet for his passion.

“I realized at that time that the engineers, as much as we were making everything happen, we weren’t the creative geniuses behind the product,” he said. “It was marketing, and in that industry it’s very much marketing-driven.”

That realization brought him to Chicago, where he worked on the marketing side for Brunswick Corporation. Eventually, he moved on, pursuing a position as an introductory metal sculpture teacher.

“I really never looked back from that point,” he said. “I left the corporate world and focused for a number of years on my own product line of custom furniture … while I was teaching.”

That experience led him to open the CIADC as an outlet for those interested in metalworking, woodworking or casting, something he said was a “void” in the Chicagoland area.

In short, he founded the nonprofit to give people an “easier opportunity to explore the industrial arts.”

“People in high school, people outside of a university setting, do not have access to, not just working with their hands but working with their hands with these industrial processes,” he said.


During a tour of the facility, Runfola talked excitedly amid the clanging of metal and cutting of wood, lighting up when asked to explain the difference between TIG and MIG welding.

“We really go to great lengths to make it comfortable for people to cross the threshold to enter into our facility,” Runfola said. “We feel very strongly that once people are in a class and learning, 99% of people are going to fall in love with this type of work.”

Many younger students come into the shop not exactly knowing what they’re getting themselves into, Runfola said, but once they realize they can safely handle material to produce something of their own creation, it gives them satisfaction.

Cam White, 15, a high school student, is relatively new to the CIADC.

“In Chicago, it’s really hard to find places to do woodworking and metalworking,” she said during her third day of classes at the CIADC. “I was researching it because I wanted to do more hands-on things.”

Student Cam White, 15, concentrates in the metalworking shop. Fouad Egbaria/MetalMiner

White said woodworking was her primary interest, but she opted to take metalworking class to try something new. White said she isn’t sure if she would want to pursue a career using the skills she’s learning in the shop, but she does want to have her own home shop someday.

White said that among her friends, her interest in this type of work is unique.

“They’ll say ‘oh that’s cool,’ but they’re not interested in it,” she said. “They’re more interested in me doing it than actually them doing it.”

White said she’s not a “technology person,” adding that the type of “old school” work done in the shop might not appeal to other people in her age group.

“Now with all the industrial stuff and all the gaming and coding and stuff you can do in that realm, more of my friends lean to that side and less of woodworking and shop-type things,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tom Bittman, 70, retired after a career in commercial banking, first took classes at the CIADC in the fall of 2018.

“I enjoy making things,” he said. “I have a lifelong hobby of woodworking. I’ve taken some classes in woodworking at other places as well.”

While surfing the Internet, Bittman came across the CIADC and decided to check it out. Like White, he decided to try something new — after taking woodworking classes last fall, he delved into metalworking this spring.

“It’s a learning thing for me,” he said. “It’s entertainment, it’s learning, it’s a little adventure doing something new someplace new with new people.”

Last year, Bittman said he learned about all the ins and outs of woodworking, including cutting and shaping, in addition to use of the various machines in the shop.

“It’s the same thing with metal — just very different,” he said, laughing.

Of course, without dedicated, competent instruction, some students’ desire to learn could wane.

A bust on display in the third-floor casting shop. Fouad Egbaria/MetalMiner

Olivia Jade Juarez, 27, works as an instructor and manager of CIADC’s welding and forging shop.

Jade Juarez studied sculpture during her time in art school using a wide range of materials, but did not work with metal much at that time.

Out of school, however, she worked at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado, which had a sculpture department largely focused on metalworking tools.

Working as an assistant there, she had to quickly familiarize herself with the tools and techniques of metalworking.

Fortunately, she picked it up quickly.

“There’s this perception that metalworking is really rough and tumble and everything is super heavy,” she said. “I quickly realized there is a little bit of that, but it is more than anything precision and patience.”

She later worked as an assistant for metals sculptor Vivian Beer for a year, after which she decided to move back to her hometown Chicago.

She heard about the CIADC based on a recommendation from someone at Anderson Ranch, admitting that she first came to the center to use the space for her own work. However, she decided to take a class and eventually spoke with Runfola about taking on a teaching job at the center.

Jade Juarez said her favorite type of student is one who comes in with no experience.

“I’ve had a few elderly people come in and just to see them — it’s almost as if they renew themselves a little bit just to be handling flames and fire and welding, forging,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see them realize that they can still do things like that and that it’s not that far out of reach.”

Companies in industries that need workers to do these types of things — metalworking, in particular — are hoping that more people reach that realization.


The “skills gap” is something often bandied about these days — that is, that there are not enough skilled workers to fill manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

According to a skills gap study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 2.4 million jobs could go unfilled between 2018 and 2028 as a result of the skills gap, amounting to a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

Runfola said the CIADC’s mission is not necessarily to give people the skills to move into careers in these types of fields. However, he did express hope that the pendulum will swing back in manufacturing’s direction.

“When it comes to skilled workforce and filling the voids, people are realizing that being in the trades is not because you can’t do anything else,” Runfola said. “I think that’s an important thing that people are realizing again.

“It’s almost like we knew that mid-2oth century and the latter part of the 20th century, but somehow we started forgetting that.”

In an increasingly tech-driven world, part of that drive to remember will depend on drawing interest from younger people, like White.

Whether it’s kids in the city or the suburbs, Runfola argued very few of them have the opportunity to do this type of work, at home or in school. To that end, Runfola noted the center offers a scholarship program based on financial need, through which qualifying families can receive 80% off tuition.

“That’s one way that we’re trying to remove roadblocks and get as many teens as possible in here,” Runfola said. … “Right now it’s about piquing their curiosity so at least it’s on their radar.”

Jade Juarez said the idea of making things is perhaps being lost among people in her generation.

“There’s a lot of things you buy that are already made,” she said. “There isn’t much critical thought or questioning about how things are made anymore.

“There’s a really deep disconnect between what you end up having or using and what the raw materials started out as. I think the culture is very different now — it’s just ordering stuff.”

While the modern consumer culture allows for ease of purchasing items at a click, the result is a dwindling self-sufficiency, she argued.

“Not many people know other people who are welders or carpenters or just people in the trades,” she said.

She argued one simple way to help reverse the decline of the skilled labor workforce is to reintroduce shop classes into high schools (she noted she did not have a shop class at her high school).

“Then you have that seed or a memory of having built something, so that later on when it’s more of a financial decision, you’re not going in completely blind,” she said. “I really hope that it shifts back.”

While craft work is not quite the same as the industrial trades, she called it a sort of “sister or brother” to it; she said a rise in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects is an encouraging sign of a general interest in making things.

“That kind of hunger for learning … could be cultivated more,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a hobby or this quirky thing you do, it can be your career.”

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2019 buying strategies for carbon steel

While there is no easy answer or quick solution to the skills gap in the U.S., Runfola hopes the CIADC can do its part in its own small way.

“High-value manufacturing is flexibility, it’s being able to change product lines quickly and efficiently and you’ve got people that can adapt very easily,” he said. “In our small way, I feel that’s what we’re equipping people that come out of our classes with, that versatility.”

Manufacturing trends are often discussed in large, impersonal numbers: a skills gap of 2.4 million, for example (not much less than the population of the city of Chicago).

As such, attempts at reforming the system are often placed in the context of Big Change, whether it’s government-subsidized programming, changes in high school curricula or private sector spending on professional development.

While it may be true that such changes are needed to combat the so-called skills gap, the conditions for Big Change can sometimes be produced through incremental efforts on the ground.

“I feel like I was given throughout my whole career trajectory … I was given opportunities to learn, to be exposed to new things, to have people be patient with me,” Runfola said. “I feel like that’s what we’re doing here.”

Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

General Motors is teaming up with Tokyo-headquartered Isuzu, with plans to invest $175 million toward a new plant in Ohio, the Detroit automaker recently announced.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

The investment will be made through its joint venture with Isuzu, called DMAX, which is 60% GM-owned.

“Due to the growing strength of GM’s all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, General Motors and Isuzu announced today a $175 million investment through its DMAX joint venture to build an all-new, diesel engine components plant in Brookville, Ohio,” General Motors said. “The new 251,000 square-foot facility would expand the production of critical engine components for the company’s current DMAX diesel engine manufacturing operation in Moraine, Ohio.”

According to GM, the new plant will create 100 manufacturing jobs.

As we’ve noted in previous articles, while much is made of the rise of electric vehicles, one thing is clear: the U.S. automotive consumer loves pickup trucks and SUVs. So much so that fellow Big Three automaker Ford last year announced plans to phase out its traditional sedan lineup.

Within the pickup truck segment, according to GM, heavy-duty trucks account for 25% of U.S. pickup sales.

GM sues Fiat Chrysler, alleging ‘multi-year pattern of corruption’

In other automotive news, GM is suing Fiat Chrysler, announcing late last month it had filed a RICO lawsuit against the rival automaker.

GM argued Fiat Chrysler had engaged in a “multi-year pattern of corruption” that was “used to undermine the integrity of the collective bargaining process and cause GM substantial damages.”

“This lawsuit is intended to hold FCA accountable for the harm its actions have caused our company and to ensure a level playing field going forward,” said Craig Glidden, GM executive vice president and general counsel.

In late October, GM concluded negotiations with the striking United Auto Workers (UAW) union, reaching a new four-year labor deal. The nationwide strike, GM’s first since 2007, resulted in two weeks of lost production in the third quarter and will ultimately cost the automaker around $4 billion this year.

The UAW is currently involved in negotiations with Fiat Chrysler.

“While we have had a few outside distractions since then, your negotiators have remained focused on resolving all your outstanding demands,” said Cindy Estrada, vice president and director of UAW’s Fiat Chrysler department.

“The National Parties have negotiated every day, and long hours since then. Much progress has been made but we still have some difficult issues to resolve. Your negotiators are committed to bargaining a pattern agreement that meets the needs of the membership and provides long term job security.”

GM alleges Fiat Chrysler has paid millions of dollars in bribes to UAW in an effort to unfairly impact the collective bargaining process.

“FCA was the clear sponsor of pervasive wrongdoing, paying millions of dollars in bribes to obtain benefits, concessions, and advantages in the negotiation, implementation, and administration of labor agreements over time,” GM said in a statement.

“FCA corrupted the implementation of the 2009 collective bargaining agreement. It also corrupted the negotiation, implementation, and administration of the 2011 and 2015 agreements.

“FCA’s manipulation of the collective bargaining process resulted in unfair labor costs and operational advantages, causing harm to GM.”

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

Late last month, then-UAW President Gary Jones announced his resignation, as the union is under the spotlight due to an ongoing federal corruption probe.

In August, the Detroit Free Press reported the FBI and IRS raided Jones’ metro Detroit home (among raids of other union leaders’ homes).

MetalMiner’s December 2019 Monthly Metal Buying Outlook is in the books.

Need buying strategies for steel? Request your two-month free trial of MetalMiner’s Outlook

The Monthly Metal Buying Outlook, released at the beginning of every month, offers analysis and buying strategies for 10 metals:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Tin
  • Hot-Rolled Coil  (HRC)
  • Cold-Rolled Coil (CRC)
  • Hot-Dipped Galvanized (HDG)
  • Steel Plate

The monthly report supplies buyers with valuable data and analysis to mitigate price risk and buy at the most opportune times in the price cycle.

In addition to buying strategies, the outlook includes analysis of the last month in news and trends for each metal category, drivers affecting price movements, and resistance and support levels (and much more).

Request your free trial to the Monthly Metal Buying Outlook.

Global aluminum production in October totaled 5.39 million tons, according to a recent report by the International Aluminum Institute.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Global production through the first 10 months of the year reached 53.04 million tons, down 0.9% from the 53.51 million tons produced during the first 10 months of 2018.

Of that total, China produced 3.01 million tons, which marked a decline from the 3.13 million tons produced in October 2018. However, China’s October production jumped compared with September’s 2.92 million tons.

Elsewhere, production in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries totaled 494,000 tons in October, up from the 478,000 tons in September and the 450,000 tons produced in October 2018.

North American production totaled 316,000 tons, up 1.9% from the 310,000 produced in September but down from 323,000 tons in October 2018.

Western European production totaled 286,000 tons in October, up from 276,000 tons the previous month and down from 321,000 tons in October 2018.

Production in east and central Europe totaled 356,000 tons in October, up form 344,000 tons in September and 343,000 tons in October 2018.

MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns weighed in on aluminum demand and prices last month.

“China’s gross domestic product growth slowed again to 6.0% year over year in the third quarter, its weakest pace in almost three decades, Aluminium Insider reports,” Burns wrote. “Citing a Reuters poll, the report notes industrial activity is expected to have shrunk for the sixth month in October, quoting a Reuters poll, suggesting hardly any relief from slowing global demand and the trade war.

“The latest economic data from the E.U. and the U.S. also indicate slowing growth, with Germany flirting with a recession in the manufacturing sector. Although the aluminum market was estimated to be in deficit last year and this, a Reuters poll suggests it is likely to flip into a surplus of 304,000 metric tons next year — almost a 1 million ton turnaround from the 658,500-ton estimate for this year.”

Despite slowing growth and lagging demand around the world, aluminum prices had previously shown signs of upward momentum, surging past the $1,800/mt threshold in the first half of November.

However, since hitting $1,820/mt as of Nov. 8, the LME three-month aluminum price has lost some steam. The LME three-month aluminum price dropped to $1,738/mt in the run-up to Thanksgiving, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

Alumina production

Meanwhile, the International Aluminum Institute also released alumina production figures Nov. 26.

China’s estimated production of alumina — a key aluminum making material — totaled 6.08 million tons in October, up from 5.88 million tons in September but down from the 6.16 million tons produced in October 2018.

Free Partial Sample Report: 2020 MetalMiner Annual Metals Outlook

Global alumina production totaled 110.3 million tons through the first 10 months of 2019, up 1.9% from 108.2 million tons produced during the equivalent period in 2018.

niteenrk/Adobe Stock

It has been a busy, busy year for metals, ranging from steel prices’ trajectory as we head toward 2020 to nickel prices’ reaction to Indonesia’s impending nickel ore export ban.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

While it’s hard to believe, the year is almost over — so before we jump into the final month of 2019, let’s take a look back at some of the most-viewed stories on MetalMiner from November:

  1. Amid Plunging U.S. Steel Prices, Has ‘Steelmageddon’ Arrived?

  2. What happened to the nickel supply shortfall?

  3. ICSG: Global copper market in deficit by 330K tons

  4. Freeport-McMorRan Uses AI to Optimize Production at Arizona Copper Mine

  5. ArcelorMittal Announces Shuttering of Plants in South Africa, Poland

  6. Chinese steel, raw material prices are on the rise

  7. This Morning in Metals: Automakers Await Trump’s Section 232 Auto Tariff Decision

  8. Metal manufacturers, users call for Section 232 sunset provision

  9. Aluminum Prices Rising Despite Weak Demand

  10. Goldman Sachs is Bullish on Oil Prices in the Long Term

Free Partial Sample Report: 2020 MetalMiner Annual Metals Outlook

Global crude steel production took a fall in October, including in No. 1 steel producer China.

Need buying strategies for steel? Request your two-month free trial of MetalMiner’s Outlook

According to statistics compiled by the World Steel Association — using data from 64 data-reporting countries — global steel production fell 2.8% in October on a year-over-year basis.

October production from the reporting countries totaled 151.5 million tons, down from the 155.8 million tons produced in October 2018.

China’s production contracts

China’s crude steel production for the month dropped 0.6% year over year to 81.5 million tons.

In September, China’s production growth reached 2.2% year over year, while August growth reached 9.3%.

With the Chinese winter heating season underway, it remains to be seen how much steel capacity is shuttered for the season.

As MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns recently noted, the government is taking a closer look at new capacity starts.

“Demand in top consumer China remains surprisingly robust, yet inventories are falling — suggesting producers are struggling to keep up with demand,” Burns wrote.

“If that were not enough, Reuters reported new starts are being more vigorously investigated and the approval process reviewed, leading the industry to think supply will be curbed further during the winter heating period this year.

“A notice jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the National Bureau of Statistics urges local governments and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) to verify the steel firms’ capacity, production and fixed-asset investments.”

No. 2, 3 producers see production declines

Meanwhile, No. 2 producer India put out 9.1 million tons, down 3.4% year over year. Japan produced 8.2 million tons, marking a 4.9% decline.

South Korean production reached 6.0 million tons, down 3.5% year over year.

U.S. production totaled 7.4 million tons, which marked a 2.0% decline compared with October 2018. The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate remains above the important 80% mark (identified as a marker of industry health when the Trump administration first rolled out Section 232 tariffs on imported steel and aluminum).

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) recently reported the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate for the year through Nov. 23 reached 80.3%, having now held at that level over the past month and a half.

In the E.U., Germany produced 3.3 million tons, marking a year-over-year decline of 6.8%, as overall recession concerns loom in the E.U.’s industrial stalwart.

Italy produced 2.2 million tons, down by 3.7%. France’s production fell 10.6% to 1.2 million tons, while Spain’s fell 7.6% to 1.2 million tons.

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

October steel production in Brazil, Turkey and Ukraine was all down by double-digit percentages in each country — 19.4%, 15.0% and 12.7%, respectively.

Steven Husk/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, gas prices this Thanksgiving were similar to levels the previous two years, Tata Steel has confirmed job cuts in the U.K. and a partnership may form toward development of new copper projects in Peru.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Gas prices hang at around $2.58 per gallon

For those who traveled this Thanksgiving season, average gas prices stood at levels similar to previous holiday seasons.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), average gas prices in the U.S. as of Nov. 25 stood at $2.58 per gallon, compared with $2.61 per gallon in 2018 and $2.57 per gallon in 2017.

Tata Steel to cut U.K. jobs

Steelmaker Tata Steel has confirmed it will cuts 1,000 jobs in the U.K., the Financial Times reported.

The round of job cuts is part of a total 3,000 jobs being cut by the steelmaker, according to the report, as it deals with falling steel prices and rising raw material costs.

Possible copper project partnership in Peru

Reuters reported Canadian firm First Quantum is looking to team up with other companies  to develop copper projects in Peru.

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

According to the report, the Canadian firm is looking for partners to help it develop new copper projects in the country, with CEO Philip Pascall citing Rio Tinto as a potential partner for a joint venture.

Happy Thanksgiving from MetalMiner!

On this day, we wish our MetalMiner readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

While you may be busy putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving spread and, subsequently, taking a turkey-induced nap, you might find some time to revisit some of the most-read MetalMiner posts of the month so far.

Take a look and revisit some of the November posts below that caught readers’ attention:

  1. Amid Plunging U.S. Steel Prices, Has ‘Steelmageddon’ Arrived?

  2. What happened to the nickel supply shortfall?

  3. Freeport-McMorRan Uses AI to Optimize Production at Arizona Copper Mine

  4. ArcelorMittal Announces Shuttering of Plants in South Africa, Poland

  5. This Morning in Metals: Automakers Await Trump’s Section 232 Auto Tariff Decision

We’re off today and will resume regular coverage tomorrow.

But for now, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, MetalMiner readers!

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. steel imports were down 16% through the first 10 months of the year, steel companies are raising their prices and protests continue in the world’s top copper-producing country.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Steel imports drop 16% through October

U.S. imports of steel through the first 10 months of the year were down 16% on a year-over-year basis, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported this week.

Steel imports through the end of October totaled 24.78 million tons, according to the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. steel imports for totaled 2.18 million tons in October, which marked a 14.5% increase compared with the September import total.

Steel companies raise prices

Amid slumping steel prices, companies like U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal are raising prices for their products, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

According to the Times’ report, the steelmakers have raised their prices for flat-rolled steel three times in less than a month.

Chile protests continue

Widespread protests erupted in Chile in October, at first over a proposed metro fare hike; since then, the protests have expanded to encompass more widespread, systemic ills that are being called out by the protesters in the streets of Santiago and other cities.

Chile is the world’s No. 1 copper producer. Bloomberg reports the country’s recent protests could in fact threaten the status of the country’s major state-owned producer as the world’s No. 1 producer.

According to the report, state-owned Codelco — the world’s top copper producer — had been planning to spend $20 billion in Chile over a decade to modernize its mines.

Looking for metal price forecasting and data analysis in one easy-to-use platform? Inquire about MetalMiner Insights today!

However, Bloomberg notes, demands raised by protesters in Chile could be at odds with government funding Codelco had looked for toward that aforementioned modernization. As a result, Codelco may fall from its No. 1 spot, according to Colin Hamilton of BMO Capital Markets, as cited by Bloomberg.