Author Archives: Fouad Egbaria

Tesla’s Model 3. Source: Tesla

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, including coverage of: Tesla’s struggle between price competitiveness and battery range; supply chains amid the coronavirus outbreak; U.S. industrial production; zinc’s global supply deficit; and E.U.-U.K. trade talks.

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This morning in metals news, German firm Thyssenkrupp announced the sale of its elevator segment, the U.S.’s trade deficit in goods dipped in January and the International Tin Association recently surveyed tin producers regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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After over three years of drama on the heels of its historic Brexit referendum, the U.K. officially withdrew from the E.U. at the end of January.

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For now, not much has changed. The U.K. remains in a transitional period vis-a-vis its relationship with the E.U., with previous rules governing their relationship still in place.

The clock is ticking, however, as the parties have until the end of this year to agree to a new trade arrangement, one that could have significant consequences for both sides.

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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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While the U.S. and China earlier this year announced a so-called “phase one” trade deal, questions remained about commitments and the enforcement of the deal’s provisions.

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As such, despite forestalling the implementation of new planned tariffs, the U.S. opted to maintain the bulk of the previously imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, amounting to roughly $370 billion.

At the time, President Donald Trump said the U.S. would leave the tariffs in place, but could remove them if a phase two deal is struck; however, it remembers to be seen when, or if, such a deal will be reached between the world’s two largest economies.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) made a negative determination in the ongoing anti-dumping probe of fabricated structural steel imports, the Pilbara Ports Authority released January shipment data and Norsk Hydro will offer aluminum solutions for ships under construction for a Norwegian shipowner.

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According to the International Copper Study Group, the global copper market was in deficit by approximately 385,000 tons through the first 11 months of 2019.

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The LME three-month copper price built some upward momentum in late 2019 and the first two weeks of 2020, rising to just over $6,300/mt as of mid-January.

Since then, however, LME copper has fallen 9.5% — down to $5,727/mt — amid growing fears regarding the coronavirus outbreak in China and reports of a growing number of cases around the world, including in South Korea, Italy and Iran.

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According to monthly data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), the global zinc market posted a deficit of 189,000 tons in 2019.

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Meanwhile, lead supply exceeded demand by 8,000 tons in 2019, according to the ILZSG.

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This morning in metals news, stock markets took heavy losses Monday, U.S. raw steel production is up 1.1% in the year to date and concerns abound regarding workers at Baowu Steel’s Wuhan plant amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% in January as “unseasonably warm weather held down the output of utilities and as a major manufacturer significantly slowed production of civilian aircraft.”

“The major market groups posted mixed results in January,” The Fed reported. “The output of business equipment declined 2.6 percent as a result of the slowdown in the production of aircraft. The step-down in the index for utilities contributed to decreases for consumer energy products and energy materials. The index for consumer durables rose, supported by an increase of 2.8 percent in the output of automotive products.”

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Manufacturing production dropped 0.1%; however, production increased 0.3% when excluding the decline in production of aircraft and parts.

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