Articles in Category: Exports

lithium-ion battery

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a potential lithium-ion battery business; U.S. import prices fell slightly in October; and Gulf of Mexico oil production fell in August by the largest amount since 2008.

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Norsk Hydro signs MOU to explore potential lithium-ion battery business

Norsk Hydro, Panasonic and Equinor have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the potential for a lithium-ion battery business based in Norway.

“The companies will work together towards summer 2021 to assess the market for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and mature the business case for a green battery business located in Norway,” Norsk Hydro said in a release. “The companies intend that this initiative is based on Panasonic’s leading technology and targets the European market for electric vehicles and other applications.”

U.S. import prices fall in October

Meanwhile, U.S. import prices fell 0.1% in October after gaining 0.2% in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat once again this month.

November 2020 Rare Earths MMI chart

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.

China export control law to take effect Dec. 1

China’s legislature last month approved a new export control law that will go into effect Dec. 1, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported last month.

“China may take countermeasures against any country or region that abuses export-control measures and poses a threat to China’s national security and interests, according to the law,” Xinhua reported.

“The law also clarifies that technical documentation related to the items covered by the law is also subject to export-control stipulations.”

The law could impact exports of rare earths, for which China overwhelmingly dominates the global market.

As we have noted in this column before, the U.S. — especially the Pentagon — has long sought to diversify its rare earths supply chain. The U.S. earlier this year approved Phase 1 contracts with MP Materials and Lynas Corporation for work to develop rare earths separation facilities in the U.S.

South Korean-Australian joint project produces praseodymium, neodymium

Continuing the theme of various countries’ efforts to wean themselves off of rare earths dependence on China, Forbes recently reported on a joint venture between South Korea and Australia that has showed some promise.

The joint mineral processing project, Forbes notes, has so far produced neodymium and praseodymium. The two elements are used in permanent magnets in electric vehicles and, for praseodymium, renewable energy apparatus, like wind turbines.

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We wrote last month how China’s rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the country importing semi-finished products for which it previously had been self-reliant or even a net exporter for the last decade.

Some steel products and primary aluminum swung into becoming significant net inflows for the economy during the summer months.

But as we cautioned at the time, this was only expected to be a temporary phenomenon.

Are you on the hook for communicating the company’s steel performance to the executive team? See what should be in that report!

China’s steel flows recalibrate

Sure enough, although volumes are still down on this time last year, exports have picked up and imports have fallen.

In a recent post, Argus Media reported China’s steel exports in October rose by 5.2% from September to 4.04 million tons. Chinese mills shifted supplies to overseas markets, enabled — or forced, depending on your point of view — by falling domestic prices.

Summertime exports rose as domestic prices fell

Falling domestic prices in the summer aided Chinese steel mills’ ability to export so aggressively.

Domestic inventory levels rose and domestic crude steel production hit record levels of 3.09 million tons a day in September, in large part to meet domestic demand. Weakness in domestic steel prices suggests overoptimism by the steel mills, inevitably resulting in excess production leaking into export markets looking for a home.

Domestic Chinese steel prices have recovered since the summer as global steel prices have risen and imports have fallen.

As the global recovery has lifted demand and prices, mills in India and elsewhere have not felt the need to distress sell metal into China. In addition, the arbitrage window has narrowed.

Imports have therefore appeared less attractive to Chinese buyers and exports more attractive to mills. That is a trend we expect to continue through Q4.

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nickel

leszekglasner/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the nickel price has gained to start the week; Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. recently released its Q3 results; and, finally, the U.S. imported $19 billion in energy goods from Mexico last year.

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.

Nickel price gains

The LME three-month nickel price gained over the first two sessions of the week.

Closing Tuesday at $15,384 per metric ton, the LME three-month nickel price gained $236 per metric ton over the previous 24 hours.

On a month-over-month basis, nickel is up 6.8%.

Reliance releases Q3 results

In its Q3 financial results, Reliance Steel and Aluminum posted pretax income of $127 million, up from $102 million in Q2 2020.

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nickel

leszekglasner/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including: the nickel market; aluminum prices on the SHFE and LME; China’s metals rebound; and much more.

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Week in Review, Oct. 12-16 (nickel market, China’s metals rebound and more)

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.

steel shipment

Hor/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel prices have made significant gains in recent weeks; exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from two key Louisiana export terminals have resumed after Hurricane Laura; the coronavirus pandemic has impacted tin production in Bolivia.

Do you use cost breakdowns in your steel negotiations? See other tips in negotiating with mills and service centers

U.S. steel prices rise

U.S. steel prices have posted significant gains of late. HRC, for example, closed Wednesday at $589 per short ton, up 17.33% month over month.

Meanwhile, the CRC price closed Wednesday at $775 per short ton, up 15.5% month over month.

Finally, U.S. HDG closed Wednesday at $850 per short ton, up 12.73% month over month.

LNG exports resume from terminals hit by Hurricane Laura

Among other impacts, Hurricane Laura disrupted activities at two LNG export terminals in Louisiana.

However, on the heels of the hurricane, the Sabine Pass terminal resumed exports Sept. 11, per the Energy Information Administration. Sabine Pass is the largest LNG export facility in the U.S.

However, the resumption of activity at Cameron terminal did not occur until Oct. 5 due to persisting infrastructural damage at the facility.

Furthermore, the next hurricane on the way could lead to further damage.

“Currently, Hurricane Delta, a Category 4 storm in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday, October 9,” the EIA reported. “Depending on the path of Hurricane Delta, Cameron and Sabine Pass may take precautionary measures and temporarily suspend operations as they did before Hurricane Laura.”

Tin output in Bolivia

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted tin production in Bolivia, the International Tin Association (ITA) reported this week.

Tin concentrate production in the first quarter of the year fell 30% year over year.

In addition, coronavirus-related closures prevented production 2,600 tonnes of refined ton in Q2, the ITA estimated.

Are you on the hook for communicating the company’s steel performance to the executive team? See what should be in that report!

aluminum foil

Alex/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: an aluminum trade group filed anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy petitions relating to imports of aluminum foil from five countries; the consultation period for Alcoa’s San Ciprián aluminum plant ended without an agreement on a social plan for workers; and the U.S. Census Bureau released August import and export data.

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.

Trade group files anti-dumping, countervailing duty petitions

The Aluminum Association’s Foil Trade Enforcement Working Group has filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions relating to imports of aluminum foil from five countries.

The countries are Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia and Turkey.

“We continue to see how persistent aluminum overcapacity driven by structural subsidies in China harms the entire sector,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. “While domestic aluminum foil producers were able to invest and expand following the initial targeted trade enforcement action against imports from China in 2018, those gains were short lived. As Chinese imports receded from the U.S. market, they were replaced by a surge of unfairly-traded aluminum foil imports that are injuring the U.S. industry.”

The anti-dumping petition includes all five of the countries. Meanwhile, the countervailing duty petition alleges imports from Turkey and Oman benefited from illegal government subsidies.

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China and India flags

daboost/Adobe Stock

India turned a net exporter of steel to China (and other countries) during April-August 2020 for the first time in several years, credit rating agency CRISIL reported.

See why technical analysis is a superior forecasting methodology over fundamental analysis and why it matters for your steel buy.

India becomes net exporter amid domestic demand slump

Local consumption in India has slumped. As such, during the aforementioned period, Indian companies exported 60-80% of their steel output.

China accounted for 45% of the total steel exports, according to The Week.

“India turned net exporter of steel to China for the first time in several years, with 69% of semi-finished steel & 28% of finished steel heading there between April & August,” CRISIL said in a statement.

The rise coincided with border tensions rising between India and China, which led to clashes in India’s Ladakh region.

Chinese steel production, iron ore imports rise

China has been the largest producer of steel globally, followed closely by India.

In the January-June 2020 period, China’s steel production rose 1.4% to 499 million tons. Meanwhile, India’s production slumped 24.2% to 43.13 million tons.

The increase in exports, however, has eased the pressure on India’s steel sector. The sector has been buffeted by lockdowns and a major slump in economic activity because of the pandemic.

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copper smelter

Bombardho/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the copper price bounced back Tuesday after a down Monday session; ArcelorMittal issued a statement on the European Commission’s policy proposals aimed at reducing emissions; and U.S. oil exports have fallen in each month since February.

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.

Copper price recovers Tuesday

The copper price continued to move up after a down Monday session, Reuters reported.

LME copper fell 1.8% Monday but bounced back 1.4% on Tuesday.

Europe strives toward emissions targets

In other news beyond the copper price, the European Commission recently outlined its 2030 Climate Target Plan, to which steelmaker ArcelorMittal responded positively.

However, the firm also listed several factors that will make it easier for it to achieve the emissions targets.

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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.

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

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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