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.
This Morning in Metals: ITC determines U.S. industry not injured by fabricated structural steel imports
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: India’s auto sector; a merger of Geely and Volvo; China’s steel industry amid the coronavirus outbreak; the E.U.’s anti-dumping probe of aluminum extrusions from China; and iron ore prices.
Aluminum extrusions from China are currently subject to anti-dumping duties in the U.S., Canada, Australia and, for a more unique reason of its own, Vietnam, Aluminium Insider reported.
But despite repeated complaints from the industry and industry bodies like European Aluminium, the European Union has done no more than require a surveillance license system to report and monitor imports of aluminum into the E.U.
In a move many consider overdue, the European Commission has now opened a probe into whether Chinese exporters of aluminum bars, rods, profiles, tubes and pipes sold them in the E.U. below cost, Bloomberg reported Friday.
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: aluminum production and prices; Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel derivatives; the coronavirus’ potential impact on iron ore; General Motors’ electrification drive; and the arrival of Brexit.
This morning in metals news, U.S. raw steel production in 2019 increased 1.9% over 2018, Rio Tinto announced plans to resume operations at its Richards Bay Minerals site in South Africa and the U.S. Department of Commerce made an affirmative preliminary antidumping duty determination related to collated steel staples from China.
U.S. raw steel production rises 1.9% in 2019
U.S. raw steel production in 2019 (through Dec. 28) totaled 96.3 million tons, marking a 1.9% year-over-year increase, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
Capacity utilization rate for the period in question reached 80.2%, up from 78.2% for the same period in 2018.
Rio Tinto to resume operations at Richards Bay Minerals
Miner Rio Tinto recently announced plans to resume its operations at its Richards Bay Minerals site in South Africa.
“Rio Tinto has today started the process of resuming operations at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa,” Rio Tinto said. “This follows discussions led by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, involving all stakeholders focused on securing stability in order to address the issues in the community and provide the stable environment necessary for RBM to resume operations.
“A phased restart is now in progress across the operation, with RBM expected to return to full operations in early January, leading to regular production in early 2020. Rio Tinto is contacting customers who were advised of a force majeure in their supply that this has now been lifted. Rio Tinto will review the restart of the Zulti South project after normalisation of operations at RBM.”
Rio Tinto said titanium dioxide slag production for 2019 is expected to fall at the lower end of its previous forecast of between 1.2 million and 1.4 million tons.
DOC announces antidumping duty determination on collated steel staples
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued a preliminary antidumping duty determination related to imports of collated steel staples from China.
According to the DOC, the product in question has been dumped into the U.S. at a margin of 301.64%.
Imports of collated steel staples from China amounted to a value of $88.8 million in 2018, according to the DOC.
Week in Review: Trump’s trade deals, steel capacity utilization and Hindalco’s diversification plans
Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including coverage of: India’s Hindalco, U.S. steel capacity utilization, Trump’s trade deals, the Department of Commerce’s circumvention rulings on steel routed through Vietnam, U.S. industrial production and more.
- Sohrab Darabshaw delved into Hindalco’s plans to diversify its operations amid challenging conditions for aluminum in India.
- Rio Tinto’s Pacific operations recently gained Aluminum Stewardship Initiative certifications.
- Stuart Burns on what 2020 might have in store in terms of economic growth.
- Don Hauser overviewed recent trade developments related to the USMCA and U.S.-China talks.
- The European Commission has a proposal aimed at protecting its trade rights amid a deadlock in the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body.
- The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate hit 80.1% for the year through Dec. 14.
- The Department of Commerce issued affirmative determinations related to circumvention of steel products produced in Korea and Taiwan but shipped through Vietnam.
- U.S. industrial production bounced back in November.
- ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel recently completed acquisition of the debt-ridden Indian steelmaker Essar Steel.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued five affirmative determinations in anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy circumvention investigations related to steel imports that had been shipped through Vietnam but originally produced elsewhere.
According to the Department of Commerce, the steel in question includes corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) and cold-rolled steel (CRS) that is produced in Korea and Taiwan and then shipped to Vietnam for “minor processing.”
“As a result of today’s determinations, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to continue to collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of CORE and CRS produced in Vietnam using Korean- or Taiwanese-origin substrate,” the DOC said. “These duties apply to any unliquidated entries since August 2, 2018, the date on which Commerce initiated these circumvention inquiries.”
According to the DOC, cash deposit rates in the cases will be as high as 456.20%, depending on the “origin of the substrate and the type of steel product exported to the United States.”
The value of shipments of CORE from Vietnam to the U.S. skyrocketed 4,353%, from $23 million during the April 2012 to December 2015 period to $1.1 billion during the period from January 2016 to September 2019.
CORE and CRS producers whose petitions prompted the investigation were: Steel Dynamics, Inc.; California Steel Industries; AK Steel Corporation; ArcelorMittal USA LLC; Nucor Corporation; and United States Steel Corporation.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met with Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh to discuss strengthening trade ties between the two countries.
“Vietnam is taking many solutions to balance its trade with the US, such as stepping up cooperative ties with the federal government and state administrations in the fields of mutual interest and encouraging the import of goods and services from the US, the minister stressed,” a Ministry of Industry and Trade release regarding the Nov. 8 meeting stated.
“Regarding cooperation in the fight against goods origin frauds and illegal transshipment, Anh suggested that the two sides should further strengthen the coordination mechanism, especially after the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) is signed in the coming time.”
U.S. trade with Vietnam totaled an estimated $62.6 billion in 2018, according to the United States Trade Representative.
The U.S. had a trade in goods deficit with Vietnam of $39.5 billion in 2018. Through the first 10 months of 2019, the U.S.’s trade in goods deficit with Vietnam was $46.3 billion, with import value already in excess of the 2018 full-year total.
This morning in metals news, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced rulings in investigations of stainless steel kegs from China and Germany, copper prices rose on labor tensions in Chile, and the UAW’s strike continues as it mulls ratification of a tentative deal with General Motors reached last week.
DOC Makes Final Determinations on Stainless Steel Keg Imports
The U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday announced it had made affirmative final determinations in its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of imports of stainless steel kegs from China and Germany.
The DOC determined the countries sold the kegs at less than fair values, ranging from 0 to 77.13% and 7.47%, respectively.
The DOC also determined that exporters from China received countervailable subsidies at rates ranging from 16.21% to 145.23%.
Copper Rises on Chile Labor Developments
LME copper reached a one-month high amid strikes at Chilean copper mines operated by Antofagasta and Teck Resources, Reuters reported.
LME three-month copper rose as much as 0.5% Monday, Reuters reported, up to $5,837.50 per ton.
GM Awaits UAW Vote on Deal
Last week, General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced they had reached a tentative deal that could potentially end the strike that has lingered for well over a month.
However, the strike continues, for now, as UAW members must vote on the deal.
If the deal is approved, talks will then shift to Ford and Fiat Chrysler, the Detroit Free Press reported.
This morning in metals news, Rio Tinto released its third-quarter production figures, India has proposed an anti-dumping duty on flat-rolled steel from China and other countries, and copper prices dropped after a strike was averted at Chile’s Antofagasta.
Rio Tinto Posts Strong Third Quarter
Miner Rio Tinto posted third-quarter iron ore production of 87.3 million tons, marking a 6% increase on a year-over-year basis and a 10% increase compare with Q2 2019.
Bauxite production increased 9% year over year, while aluminum production fell 3%.
“We have delivered improved production across the majority of our products in the third quarter, with a solid result at our Pilbara mines driving increased sales of iron ore into robust markets,” Rio Tinto CEO J-S Jacques said. “Our strong value over volume approach, coupled with our focus on operational performance and disciplined allocation of capital, will continue to deliver superior returns to shareholders over the short, medium and long term.”
India Proposes Anti-Dumping Duty on Chinese Flat-Rolled Steel
The Indian government Tuesday proposed a new flat-rolled steel anti-dumping duty on imports from China, Vietnam and South Korea, Reuters reported.
The duty, once implemented, will be effective for six months, according to the report.
Copper Drops on Antofagasta News
After Chilean copper miner Antofagasta reached a new 36-month contract with laborers at its Los Pelambres mine, copper prices moved downward, Reuters reported.
Three-month LME copper dipped 0.2% Wednesday to $5,764 per ton, according to the report.
This morning in metals news, U.S. import market share for steel reached 17% in September, the European Commission is investigating potential dumping of hot-rolled stainless steel from China and Indonesia, and India is set to become a net importer of iron ore.
Steel Import Market Share 17% in September
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), U.S. steel import market share hit 17% in September, down from the 20% for the year to date.
Steel import permit applications totaled 1.97 million net tons for the month, down 9.4% from import permit tons recorded in August.
European Commission to Launch Anti-Dumping Probe
The European Commission is set to investigate potential dumping of hot-rolled stainless steel from China and Indonesia, Reuters reported.
In addition, the European Commission has imposed provisional anti-dumping duties of up to 66% on steel road wheels imported from China, according to the report.
India to Become Net Iron Ore Importer
India is set to become a net importer of iron ore in the next financial year, the Hellenic Shipping News reported.
The Indian government is auctioning off iron ore blocks ahead of the expiration of a number of mining leases early next year; however, potential hang-ups in the process could leave the country short on available iron ore supply, leading to the necessity to import the steelmaking material.