Articles in Category: Company News

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

This morning in metals news, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its tariff exclusion process for steel and aluminum, world leaders announce the intention to work together on steel overcapacity, and bank accounts have been seized in connection to a corruption probe involving Rio Tinto’s Mongolia mine.

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

DOC Publishes Tariff Exclusion Procedure in Federal Register

Entities looking to obtain exclusions from the newly passed steel and aluminum tariffs received some clarity on how to do so recently when the Department of Commerce posted the procedures for tariff exclusion.

“These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a DOC statement Sunday. “Starting tomorrow, domestic industry will be able to apply for exclusions through a fair and transparent process run through Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.”

The DOC posted the procedures in a Federal Register notice.

According to the DOC, “Only individuals or organizations using steel or aluminum articles identified in Presidential Proclamations 9704 and 9705 and engaged in business activities in the United States may submit exclusion requests. Exclusion requests will be posted for a 30-day comment period on”

Merkel, Xi to Work Together on Steel Overcapacity

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to work together to tackle global steel overcapacity, the Financial Times reported.

The comments, on the heels of the newly announced U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, came ahead of Group of 20 meetings scheduled for today and Tuesday, according to the report.

Bank Accounts Seized in Probe Involving Rio Tinto’s Mongolia Mine

Switzerland’s highest court upheld the seizure of $1.85 million in bank accounts as part of a corruption probe related to a Mongolia finance minister and a mine operated by Rio Tinto in the country, Reuters reported.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

According to the report, anti-graft authorities in Mongolia are looking into a 2009 agreement with the miner, which eventually led to the startup of the miner’s copper-gold project in the Gobi Desert.

Not surprisingly, any discussion of iron ore prices in top consumer China inevitably involves some reference to import stock inventory.

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

So when Reuters reports that the Dalian commodity exchange May iron ore contract price touched a low of 475.50 yuan per ton this week and China’s Qingdao port price dropped below $70 per ton — the lowest since Dec. 11 — analysts readily refer to record port stocks as being the cause.

Port inventory stood at 158.6 million tons at the end of last week, closer to the previous week’s record of 159.1 million times, according to a separate Reuters article. The article goes on to explain why headline port stocks are far from the whole story. China’s environmental crackdown on polluting industries this winter has driven steel mills to favor high-purity minimum 62% iron ore grades, supplied by firms like Australia’s Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, Brazil’s Vale, and South Africa’s Kumba, over lower 58% Fe grades, such as Australia’s Fortescue Metals group and some Indian suppliers.

Much of the rise in import stocks has been a buildup of low-grade iron ore shunned by steel mills keen to avoid the pre-blast furnace upgrading needed for lower grades or the increased consumption of polluting coking coal that the protracted smelting of lower grades requires.

Read more

stockquest/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the Brewers Association issued a statement expressing qualms about the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs, one analyst says U.S. Steel might actually be worse off after the tariffs, and copper miners are looking to the Mongolian dunes.

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

Brewers Association Says Canada, Mexico Tariff Exemptions Represent ‘Step in the Right Direction’

The Brewers Association released a statement in which it expressed concerns about the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

“The Brewers Association is concerned about both the aluminum and steel tariffs and the potential implications they will have on small and independent brewers,” the association said in the statement. “Though we think the more targeted tariffs exempting Canada and Mexico are a step in the right direction, we do not believe that can sheet aluminum or the steel used to make brewing equipment poses a threat to national security.”

Tariff’s Impact on U.S. Steel?

According to one analyst, the recently announced 25% steel tariff might not be a good thing for U.S. Steel.

Gordon Johnson, an analyst with the Vertical Research Group, told CNBC that U.S. Steel was “significantly, fundamentally, worse off “after the tariffs, which were intended to help the domestic steel industry.

Mining in Mongolia

Miners are always looking for the next source of valuable materials — according to Reuters, the dunes of Mongolian might be the next big source of copper.

Despite risks associated with work in the country, including extreme weather, miners are turning to Mongolia in search of copper, which is increasingly in demand (particularly in electric vehicles).

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

According to the report, Rio Tinto has been the sole copper miner in Mongolia for a while, but that could change as copper demand is on the rise vis-a-vis electric vehicles and copper sources in Chile are drying up.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel announced it plans to restart a blast furnace facility in Illinois, Trump talks tough to E.U. and Chile’s trade surplus is powered by strong copper exports.

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

U.S. Steel to Restart Illinois Operations

U.S. Steel announced this week that it plans to restart a blast furnace and steelmaking facilities in Illinois as a result of President Trump’s 25% steel tariff proposal last week.

President and CEO David Burritt praised the tariffs proposal.

Our Granite City Works facility and employees, as well as the surrounding community, have suffered too long from the unending waves of unfairly traded steel products that have flooded U.S. markets,” Burritt said. “The Section 232 action announced by President Trump last week recognizes the significant threat steel imports pose to our national and economic security. The President’s strong leadership is needed to begin to level the playing field so companies like ours can compete, win and create jobs that support our employees and the communities in which we operate as well as strengthen our national and economic security. We will continue to support our customers with the high-quality products they have come to expect from U. S. Steel.”

According to a U.S. Steel release announcing the decision, the company plans on calling back approximately 500 employees to its Granite City Works, beginning this month, in a process that could take up to four months.

Trump Criticizes E.U. as Tariff Tension Rises

Trading partners around the world expressed dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs proposal, with many implicitly and explicitly indicating they would retaliate if the tariffs are imposed.

The European Union is among the trading partners making noise about retaliation, making reference to placing duties on products like Kentucky bourbon and American cheese.

The tension grew this week, as Trump called out the E.U., saying it has been almost “impossible” to do business with, according to the Financial Times.

Chile Exports Heat Up, Lifting Trade Surplus

The Chilean economy is experiencing a trade surplus, with copper exports being a major contributor, according to a Reuters report.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

Chile had a $1.25 billion trade surplus in February according to the report, good for the South American nation’s largest surplus in four years.

stockquest/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Nucor CEO John Ferriola weighed in on President Trump’s tariffs proposal, embattled Kobe Steel admits that its data fraud traces back more than five decades and Shanghai zinc has a tough day.

Buying Aluminum in 2018? Download MetalMiner’s free annual price outlook

‘How They Treat Us’

As the world waits for this week’s expected implementation of the tariffs proposal announced by President Trump last week, Nucor CEO John Ferriola indicated the tariffs were only fair.

In an interview Monday on CNBC’s “Mad Money” program, Ferriola pushed back at the idea that the tariffs might be seen as unfair.

“I struggle with that concept,” Ferriola said. “Please bear in mind that particularly the European Union, but most countries in the world, have a 25 percent or greater VAT, value-added tax, on products going into their countries from the United States. So if we impose a 25 percent tariff, all we are doing is treating them exactly as they treat us.”

Kobe Steel Scandal Stretches Back

The hits keep coming for Kobe Steel, which last year became embroiled in the revelations of the company’s data falsification. According to a Reuters report, however, the falsification stretches back far longer than previously thought.

The company admitted the fraud had been going on for more than five decades, according to the report.

Kobe Steel CEO Hiroya Kawasaki has resigned, according to the report.

Shanghai Zinc Struggles

Shanghai zinc futures fell more than 2% today, according to Reuters, marking the metal’s worst day since December.

Want to see an Aluminum Price forecast? Take a free trial!

According to the report, the most-traded April zinc contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dropped 2.1% to $4,011 per ton.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

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

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

Want to a see Cold Rolled price forecast? Get two monthly reports for free!

stockquest/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals, the president tweets about steel and aluminum (current Section 232 probes under his consideration), Apple’s move on cobalt and China plans to crack down on aluminum price speculation.

Section 232 buying strategies – download MetalMiner’s Section 232 Investigation Impact Report today!

Trump Tweets About Steel, Aluminum; Announcement Possibly Coming Today

According to the Washington Post, during a planned announcement today the president could announce plans for steel and aluminum trade action.

This morning, the president tweeted on the subject, writing:

According to the Washington Post report, there is a chance the announcement might still be postponed.

Apple and Cobalt

Last week, Apple announced it would be seeking to buy cobalt — coveted for its application in things like electric car batteries and cellphones, among other things — directly from miners, as Bloomberg reported.

According to the report, Apple is looking to buy several thousand metrics tons of cobalt for five years or more.

China Targets Excessive Nonferrous Metals Speculation

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology MIIT is looking to crack down on excessive speculation in nonferrous metals, like aluminum, according to a Reuters report.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

According to the report, the MIIT plans to work nonferrous metals associations and other departments to tamp down speculation.

natali_mis/Adobe Stock

Last week, multinational miner Glencore announced its 2017 preliminary earnings results.

Wondering how your stainless steel prices compare to the market? Benchmark with MetalMiner

“Our performance in 2017 was our strongest on record, driven by our leading Marketing and Industrial asset businesses,” CEO Ivan Glasenberg said in a release.

Glencore reported an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $14.8 billion, up 44% from 2016.

In Glasenberg’s officer’s review in the full results document, he said the firm benefited from a number of market conditions, including developments in China.

“Concerns of tightening financial conditions in China during the second quarter proved to be short-lived, with commodities rallying once again through the second half of the year,” he wrote. “Strong economic performance in both major developing and developed markets has underpinned supportive commodity demand conditions.”

In addition, supply-side reforms, aimed at tackling pollution throughout the country by scaling back industrial production, “positively affected” commodities like aluminum, zinc and thermal coal, he wrote.

Looking to the future, Glasenberg cited the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) as a major component in the firm’s strategy. Noting global EV investment — a total of $90 billion, he wrote — he argued the firm’s “resource base is well positioned to supply into this likely energy and mobility evolution, particularly given our anticipated strong production growth in copper (25%), nickel (30%) and cobalt (133%)” over the next three years.

The previous calendar year was also a busy one in the world of M&A and partnerships for Glencore.

For more efficient carbon steel buying strategies, take a free trial of MetalMiner’s Monthly Outlook!

Last September, Glencore announced a partnership with Angola LNG Limited for the delivery of LNG cargoes to Glencore facilities around the world.

Earlier in the year, the miner acquired a 49% interest in the Hunter Valley Operations from Yancoal Australia Limited.

In October, Glencore announced it had entered into an agreement to purchase a 75% stake in Chevron South Africa Proprietary Limited and the entire issued share capital of Chevron Botswana Proprietary Limited, for a total consideration of $973 million (subject to adjustment for debt and working debt and working capital of the companies at closing).

Rio Tinto Iceland Ltd (ISAL). Source: ISAL/Einar Aron Einarsson

Norwegian firm Norsk Hydro announced Monday that it had put in a bid for Rio Tinto‘s aluminum plant in Iceland, according to a company release.

Buying Aluminum in 2018? Download MetalMiner’s free annual price outlook

“We see great potential in exchanging competence and technology elements between our aluminium plants,” said Hilde Merete Aasheim, head of Hydro’s Primary Metal business area, in the release. “We are now running a technology pilot in Norway which aims to be the world’s most energy-efficient and climate friendly aluminium production facility. These innovations will be expanded to other Hydro facilities, and as part of Hydro, ISAL will benefit from such technological spin-offs and competence.”

The bid came in for $345 million, according to a Rio Tinto release. Following the conclusion of a consultation process, Rio expects to ink the deal in the second quarter of this year, according to the Rio announcement. The bid for Rio’s 100% stake in the Iceland Ltd. (ISAL) plant also includes Rio’s stakes in the Dutch anode facility Aluchemie and Swedish aluminium fluoride plant Alufluor.

“The binding offer for the sale of these assets provides further evidence of Rio Tinto’s commitment to strengthen our business and deliver value by streamlining our portfolio,” said Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto Aluminium’s chief executive, in the release. “Hydro has a solid track record in the aluminium industry and is a partner to Rio Tinto in other ventures. ISAL, Aluchemie and Alufluor are a natural fit with Hydro’s portfolio and this transaction should secure the long term future for the sites and continued economic benefit for the wider communities.”

Want to see an Aluminum Price forecast? Take a free trial!

Hydro cited the acquisition’s reinforcement of the firm’s position as a European supplier of extrusion ingot, and touted the ISAL plant for its production based on renewable energy. According to the announcement, ISAL’s 210,000 mt of aluminum produced with renewable power would increase Hydro’s capacity in primary aluminum production to 2.4 million mt in 2018. In addition, Hydro’s share of production from renewable energy sources would rise to over 70% with the acquisition, according to the release.

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the extension of pollution-curbing efforts in China is offering a boost to iron ore and steel futures, an Australian steel company is nervous about the possibility of Section 232-related steel tariffs from the U.S., and Mexico fined a steel company for stock manipulation.

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook


Future is Bright for Iron Ore, Steel Futures

According to a report by the Financial Times, iron ore and steel prices rose to a year-to-date high after the announcement that winter capacity cuts in China’s top steelmaking region would continue.

Per the report, the local government of Tangshan, the biggest steelmaking city in China, announced Friday that cuts set to expire at the end of March will continue.

Australia’s BlueScope Awaits Section 232 Verdict as Turnbull Angles for Exemption

Despite assurances given last year by the U.S. that Australia would be exempted from Section 232-related tariffs, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and some Australian companies might be getting concerned that those assurances won’t come to fruition.

Australian steelmaker BlueScope, for example, is one firm looking to secure assurances that it would be spared from possible hard-hitting tariffs, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

Mexico Fined Steel Firm for Stock Manipulation

Mexican company Industrias CH was fined $159,764 in late November for stock manipulation, according to a Reuters report citing government data.