Articles in Category: Anti-Dumping
cargo trains

Oleksiy Mark/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the USITC voted to maintain existing duties on steel rebar from Mexico and Turkey; the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest housing starts data; and General Motors released more information on its next-generation electric vehicle models.

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USITC maintains rebar duties on Mexico, Turkey

The United States International Trade Commission this week voted to maintain existing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on steel rebar from Mexico and Turkey.

In its five-year sunset review, the USITC determined revoking the duties would likely lead to material injury “within a reasonably foreseeable time.”

“We welcome the final decision and commend the ITC and the Commerce Department for their hard work in these cases and for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws,” said Alan Price, chair of Wiley’s International Trade Practice and counsel to the Rebar Trade Action Coalition.

August housing starts fall 5.1%

New housing starts in August fell 5.1% from the previous month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Privately owned housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,416,000 in August. The August total, however, marked a 2.8% year-over-year increase.

GM touts Ultium Drive

With Detroit automaker GM transitioning toward an electrified world, the automaker said Wednesday that “Ultium Drive” will power its future.

“General Motors’ next-generation EVs are expected to be powered by a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors, known collectively as ‘Ultium Drive,'” the automaker said in a release.

Furthermore, Ultium Drive will help the company transition its current portfolio to “a fully electric lineup,” GM said.

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

Department of Commerce building

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

This morning in metals news: the Department of Commerce on Friday announced the rollout of an updated Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system; Rio Tinto’s chief executive will step down; and, lastly, China’s steel exports are facing a growing number of anti-dumping probes.

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DOC to release updated Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System

On Friday, the DOC announced the adoption of a rule to modernize its system for the monitoring of steel imports (SIMA).

The DOC will release the updated platform Oct. 13, 2020.

According to a DOC statement, the regulatory changes adopted by the final rule will:

  1. “require steel import license applicants to identify not only the country of origin, but also the country where steel used in the manufacture of the imported product was melted and poured, as defined in the final rule”
  2. “expand the scope of steel products subject to the import licensing requirement to include all products subject to Section 232 tariffs”
  3. “extend the SIMA system indefinitely”
  4. “codify the existing low-value license requirement for certain steel entries up to $5,000. Commerce received public comments on these regulatory changes, as published in a March 2020 proposed rule”

Executive shakeup at Rio Tinto

The fallout from Rio Tinto’s destruction of Juukan Gorge in May 2020 finally reached the executive level late last week.

The miner’s operations led to the destruction of rockshelters at Juukan Gorge, including two Aboriginal caves considered sacred. The destruction of the area was part of a mine expansion project.

As a result, CEO J-S Jacques will step down. Jacques will remain in the role until March 31, 2021, or until Rio Tinto finds a successor (whichever is earlier). Jacques has occupied the position since 2016.

“What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation,” Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said. “We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other Traditional Owners.”

Furthermore, Chris Salisbury will step down as chief executive of Rio’s iron ore division. In addition, Simone Niven will step down as group executive for corporate relations.

“We have listened to our stakeholders’ concerns that a lack of individual accountability undermines the Group’s ability to rebuild that trust and to move forward to implement the changes identified in the Board Review,” Thompson continued.

Countries take aim at Chinese steel exports

China’s steel exports are facing a rising number of anti-dumping inquiries around the world, the South China Morning Post reported.

There were 15 new anti-dumping investigations related to Chinese steel during the first nine months of 2020. Meanwhile, there were 13 such investigations in 2019.

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Europe

Andrey Kuzmin/Adobe Stack

Despite the economic and political challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the European metals industry is becoming increasingly vocal in trying to form the arguments around its own survival.

Are you under pressure to generate aluminum cost savings? Make sure you are following these 5 best practices!

 

Making the case

A recent article in the Financial Times — penned, it must be said by the president of Eurometaux, the European Association of non-ferrous metals producers — should not be dismissed as just a PR attempt to lobby Brussels.

The arguments made are repeated across the European metals sector. The arguments nod to social trends supported across the region to tackle climate change issues while trying to protect jobs and local economies.

Europe may not be able to set the world’s agenda. Collectively, however, the E.U. can set Europe’s agenda. In so doing, it can set an example other countries are already showing some interest in adopting.

Lost market share

As the post points out, since the 2008 financial crisis, Europe has lost a third of its primary aluminum production. Meanwhile, China has grown to produce some 60% of the world’s market.

Europe has lost market share for other base metals, too, missing the early boat for the cobalt, lithium and rare earths (used in electric cars).

Like the U.S., Europe has come to realize its dependency on foreign countries for strategic resources comes at its peril.

“The era of a conciliatory or naive Europe that relies on others to look after its interests is over,” Thierry Breton, the E.U. industry commissioner, is quoted by the Financial Times as saying.

Mining and refining in Europe has slashed its collective carbon footprint by more than 60% in the past two decades due to far higher and better-enforced standards in the region. Yet, not surprisingly, Europe’s metals sector cannot compete with subsidized imports from China and other regions.

A level playing field

But drawing on parallel commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the region’s industry is making the case for creating a level playing field. That level playing would come not simply by imposing quotas but by applying a financial cost to imports that come with significantly higher carbon and environmental costs.

The wider industry is buying into the idea of products having a lower carbon footprint as a brand strength.

The LME is launching a low-carbon aluminum spot contract to promote and facilitate growing demand for metal with a definable carbon footprint.

Some producers are already onboard.

Rusal is at the forefront of promoting its primary metal as coming wholly from renewable (hydroelectric) sources. European metals producers may not have such a clear advantage in terms of power supply. However, a combination of technologies, practices and power sources means each ton of metal Europe produces emits on average eight times less carbon than its equivalent from China.

The industry wants the E.U. establish a coherent framework to assess, regulate and penalize imports that do not meet the same level of environmental responsibility. That could include a carbon tax on imports that would help level the playing field.

Ultimately, consumers always pay for taxes. However, at least this approach may have the benefit of helping to ensure a sustainable regional metals industry. It could encourage producers elsewhere to lower their environmental impact. Furthermore, it could reduce the supply chain risk of a growing dependence on countries like China that play by a different set of rules.

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iron ore

nikitos77/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: iron ore prices continue to rise; the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to continue investigations related to imports of seamless standard, line and pressure pipe; and Rio Tinto’s Kennecott mine is the first to receive the Copper Mark award.

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Iron ore on the rise

On the back of recovering Chinese demand, the price of the steelmaking raw material iron ore has surged to a six-year high, Yahoo Finance reported.

Per the report, iron ore has gained 34% in the year to date. Furthermore, the iron ore price moved above $125 per ton for the first time since 2014.

USITC continues pipe investigations

The USITC recently voted to continue investigations into imports of seamless standard, line and pressure pipe.

“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of seamless standard, line, and pressure pipe from Czechia, Korea, Russia, and Ukraine that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the governments of Korea and Russia,” the USITC said in a prepared statement.

Rio Tinto mine wins Copper Mark distinction

Rio Tinto’s Kennecott mine is the first to win the Copper Mark award, created to honor responsible production.

Kennecott has demonstrated it meets “over 30 criteria for responsible environmental, social and governance practices,” Rio Tinto said.

“The Copper Mark is the first and only programme for responsible production in the copper industry,” the firm added. “Originally developed by the International Copper Association with input from a broad range of stakeholders including customers, NGOs and producers, the Copper Mark is now an independent entity with a multi-stakeholder council.”

Europe

Andrey Kuzmin/Adobe Stack

Following on from an investigation started in February, the European Commission has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of aluminum flat-rolled products from China.

The trade group European Aluminium made the formal complaint to the European Commission.

Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted aluminum price — it’s more important to spot the trend. 

Products included, not included

According to Aluminium Today, the products under review include: sheets; coils; coiled strips; aluminum circles of a thickness of 0.03 mm to 6 mm; and aluminum plates over 6 mm.

Interestingly, not included in the investigation will be: aluminum cans; body panels for automobiles; and aircraft parts of a thickness greater than 0.8 mm (for which Chinese penetration of the European market is substantially lower).

“It’s obvious that Chinese firms aren’t respecting the global rules of free and fair trade, and the numbers show they are dumping more and more products on our market,” Aluminium Today quoted European Aluminium Director General Gerd Gotz as saying. “The volumes of excess capacity they have built up are so massive, they could replace the entire European aluminium production.”

Rising flat-rolled imports from China

Flat-rolled aluminum imports from China into the E.U. included in the scope of the investigation increased from 171,000 metric tons in 2016 to 330,000 tons last year. In 2019, the market share of these imports from China reached more than 12%. Market share had doubled compared to four years ago, according to Aluminium Today.

In a recent report, the OECD stated global aluminum companies have received up to USD 70 billion in different forms of support over the 2013-2017 period.

Notably, 85% of the documented subsidies went to just five Chinese firms.

The green argument

Individuals and businesses around the world are devoting more and more to the carbon footprint of the aluminum industry. In that vein, some point to the environmental impact of aluminum production in Europe versus China (and the world at large).

Carbon intensity of European primary aluminum production is approximately 7kgCO2e per kg of aluminum, according to European Aluminium.

Meanwhile, the global average is 17kgCO2e per kg of aluminum. The Chinese average is 20kgCO2e per kg of aluminum.

The investigation will take up to 15 months. As such, the E.U. is unlikely impose measures before March 2021 at the earliest.

In the meantime, importers will no doubt start diversifying supply sources to protect their supply chains. The trade will not want to be left with metal in the system when the E.U. makes a decision.

The impact is likely to be felt during the second half of this year as buyers diversify away from Chinese sources.

Do you know the 5 best practices of sourcing metals, including aluminum?

It was another busy week in the world of metals and metal-using sectors.

Among this week’s major developments were an executive shakeup at Ford, aluminum prices on the rise in China and a U.S. steel sector seeing capacity utilization gains week by week.

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Europe

Andrey Kuzmin/Adobe Stack

This morning in metals news: the European Commission on Wednesday extend anti-dumping duties on stainless steel from China; miner Glencore released its half-year report; and Brazil is trying to meet China’s surging iron ore demand.

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coronavirus

JJ Gouin/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: ArcelorMittal cited market deterioration in its decision to lay off nearly 900 workers at its plant in East Chicago; Rio Tinto is investing an additional $200 million in its lithium-borate project in Serbia; and the U.S. Department of Commerce has launched antidumping and countervailing subsidy probes related to metal lockers from China.

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Anastasiia Usoltceva/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:

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Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

India has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on certain steel products imported from China, South Korea and Vietnam after an investigation established these items caused injury to domestic producers.

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