Articles in Category: Exports

Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

There’s a feel-good story emerging out of India vis-a-vis the steel sector. A recent policy document showed a rise in steel exports in 2017, while a freshly released World Steel Association (WSA) report recorded a growth in crude steel production last year.

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

The Economic Survey of India 2017-18, a document released just prior to the union budget in India, has said a mix of policy inputs for local steel, the rise in global steel prices and a slew of efforts by the Indian government to protect the domestic steel market from cheap imports had all helped in raising steel exports from India to an “unprecedented” 53% rise during the April-December 2017, during which output rose to 7.6 million tons (MT).

Local consumption itself rose 5.2% during that period to 64.9 MT. Sale of finished steel rose 5.6% to 79.3 MT during the same period, largely because of a boost from India’s core infrastructure sector.

According to the WSA report, India’s crude steel production grew by 6.2% to 101.4 MT in 2017 compared to 95.5 MT in the previous year. While China remained the world leader by producing 831.7 MT in 2017 (up 5.7% from 786.9 MT the previous year), Japan took the second spot, but witnessed a decline in steel output by 0.1% to 104.7 MT in 2017 (from 104.8 MT in 2016).

The WSA report noted world steel production touched 1,691.2 MT for 2017, up by 5.3% compared to the 2016 output of 1,606.3 MT, which sector analysts say is good news.

Specifically, India overtook the U.S. to become the world’s third-largest steel producer.

Back up a few years and India was looking at surplus steel production capacity and the flooding of the market with cheap steel from countries such as China and South Korea.

After some loud complaints by local steel bodies and producers, the Indian government raised customs duty and imposed anti-dumping duty. The Minimum Import Price (MIP) was introduced in February 2016, and all these measures had ensured the recovery by domestic producers, the Economic Survey said.

In between, somewhere in 2016-17, exports started dipping again, and the government then notified anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on various steel products in February 2017. This included imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports of seamless tubes, pipes and hollow profiles of iron, alloy or non-alloy steel originating and exported from China. Similar duties were slapped on hot-rolled coils (HRC), HR plates, cold-rolled (CR) products, wire rods and color coated steel. The government also levied countervailing duty on imports of stainless steel cold rolled flat products of all grades/series from China, Korea, the European Union, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and the U.S.

In 2017, the Indian government rolled out a new steel policy, as reported by MetalMiner.

To add to this, preference to locally manufactured select iron and steel products has been enforced since May 2017. These measures have helped keep a check on imports, which went up by only 10.9% in April-December 2017 to 6.1 MT, the Economic Survey said.

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

India’s domestic consumption of steel per capita is around 65 kg, compared to global average of 235 kg — a worrisome factor in an otherwise positive growth story for Indian steel. India, however, is pushing for an increase in per capita steel consumption to 160 kg by 2030.

After hitting a low of below $43/barrel in mid-2017, the oil price has risen inexorably to its highest level since 2015, according to the Financial Times. Rising some 35% since July, Brent crude hit over $67/barrel as hedge funds heap long positions despite the market, by most accounts, still being in surplus.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up


OPEC’s alliance with Russia and a few other non-OPEC producers has certainly restricted supply (and the market is tighter as a result). However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast in December that U.S. oil production would rise by 780,000 barrels a day in 2018, as prices continue to increase.

But for the first time in several years, the talk is more about demand and geopolitical risk than about excess supply.

Venezuela is rapidly imploding with output from the world’s second largest proven oil reserves failing steadily. Iranian unrest has added further anxiety for fear the protests could continue and possibly begin to impact output. Meanwhile, one-off crises like cracks found in a major North Sea pipeline and a fire in Austria have added a sense of vulnerability to the market that wasn’t there just a few months ago.

“Geopolitical risks are clearly back on the crude oil agenda after having been absent almost entirely since the oil market ran into a surplus in the second half of 2014,” the FT quotes Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB.

Meanwhile, though, the elephant in the room is stirring.

U.S. shale production is on the rise and U.S. exports are also increasing sharply, offering the potential to undermine global markets. Platts estimates in its December 2017 Insight report U.S. crude exports could average 2 million b/d by 2019, having already nearly breached this figure in late September. The capacity is in place to export 3 million b/d now and will be closer to 4 million b/d during 2018, Platts reports.

Source Platts

Nor is rising supply from U.S. shale the only source of supply-side excess.

New projects in Brazil and Canada could add as much as rising U.S. exports matching rising global demand and leaving the market at best in a balanced state. For now, the bulls have the market by the horns — to muddle my metaphors — but 2018 will see a fascinating tussle between OPEC-led cutbacks and growing supply from the Americas.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

On the plus side, strong global growth, both among mature and emerging markets, is lifting demand. For the time being, the bulls are in the ascendancy and it would be a brave wager to bet against them in the short term.

Michael Flippo/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the holiday weekend, let’s take one last look at the week that was:

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was:

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Free Download: The November 2017 MMI Report

President Donald Trump may not have said much, if anything, about China’s steel exports during his recent tour. Both European and U.S. legislators, however, are carrying out investigations into not just simple dumping but more complex and illegal activities, such as shipping via third parties to hide the origin and avoid pre-existing dumping tariffs.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

A Reuters article this week explains how the European Union’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) said it has found Chinese steel was shipped through Vietnam to evade the bloc’s tariffs.

In part, the current case may be a matter of timing.

Read more

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Tata Steel announces a big investment, Chinese steel shipments have continued to drop and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will expedite a five-year sunset clause review of carbon and alloy steel standard, line, and pressure (CASSLP) pipe from Germany.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Tata Steel Makes Big Port Talbot Steel Investment

Tata Steel announced it is investing £30 million in its Port Talbot steelworks, the BBC reported.

According to the report, the Indian firm will install a 500-ton steelmaking vessel at the plant, in addition to other upgrades.

Dropping Chinese Steel Shipments

President Donald Trump kicked off his tour of Asia this week; while North Korea draws much of the headlines, China’s steel industry is also among the list of items in the spotlight.

Bloomberg notes that dropping steel shipments from China, the world’s top steel producer, undercut the Trump administration’s rhetoric calling out China’s excess steel capacity.

“Exports from the country that accounts for half of global production dropped to 4.98 million tons last month, down from September’s 5.14 million, and the lowest since 2014, according to customs figures,” Bloomberg’s report reads. “That’s a far cry from the monthly peak in late 2015, when they exceeded 11 million tons.”

U.S. ITC Expedites Review of CASSLP Pipe From Germany

The U.S. ITC announced Monday that it voted to expedite its five-year sunset review concerning the antidumping duty order on seamless CASSLP pipe from Germany.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

“As a result of the vote, the Commission will conduct an expedited review to determine whether revocation of the order would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time,” the ITC release about the vote reads.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, growth in China’s steel industry has slowed down significantly, U.S. steel production was up 8.6% year-over-year and a Russian firm launches a new copper and gold mine near the Chinese border.

Chinese Steel PMI Falls to 6-Month Low

The Chinese steel Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to a 6-month low this month as the government attempts to curb pollution, according to a Reuters report.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

This month, the PMI dropped to 52.3 from 53.7.

U.S. Steel Production Up 8.6%

Through the month of September, U.S. steel production was up 8.6% year-over-year, according to a report by the Northwest Indiana Times.

According to the report, citing stats from the World Steel Association, steel output rose by 5.6% internationally in September compared to September 2016.

Russia’s Norilsk Opens New Mine Near Chinese Border

The Russian firm Norilsk Nickel has launched a new copper, iron and gold mine near the Chinese border, according to Reuters.

The project, situated about 250 miles by rail from the border, will send iron ore exports to China.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

Chinese copper demand continues to be strong. According to the report, Shanghai copper futures have surged 18% this year.

Windsor/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, the world’s top copper producer expects a moderate rise in the metal’s price going forward, the Aluminum Association announces new leadership and Kobe Steel continues to reel from its data falsification scandal.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Copper on the Rise

The price of copper is set to experience moderate increases, according to the mining minister of Chile, Reuters reported.

Aurora Williams, the mining minister of Chile (the world’s top copper producer), said Wednesday that there will be moderate increases in the metal’s price, but not enough to push it above $3/pound for the year.

According to the Reuters report, copper exports reached $3.18 billion in September, their highest level in nearly three years.

Changing of the Guard

The Aluminum Association announced new leadership on Wednesday.

Michelle O’Neill, senior vice president of senior vice president of global government affairs and sustainability at Alcoa, was elected as Aluminum Association Chair, becoming the first woman in the association’s 84-year history to hold the position. She replaced Garney Scott, president and CEO of Scepter, Inc., following a two-year term.

Kobe Steel Data Scandal Continues

It’s difficult to quantify lost trust, but it’s a problem Kobe Steel, Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker, is dealing with now on the heels of a data falsification scandal.

Now, the chief executive of the company is admitting the scandal is a serious hit on the company’s image, one that leaves it with “zero credibility,” The Guardian reported.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

According to The Guardian’s report, General Motors is the latest manufacturer to check whether its cars contain falsely certified parts or components sourced from Kobe Steel.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, a Japanese steelmaker is mired in scandal after admitting to falsifying inspection data, copper exports by Sicomines have been halted by the Congolese government and Shanghai zinc hits a 9 1/2-year high.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Kobe Steel Hit by Scandal

The third-largest steelmaker in Japan, Kobe Steel, admitted to falsifying inspection data, according to the Financial Times.

The falsified data was for about 20,000 tons of metals used in aircraft and automobiles.

Copper Exports Halted for Sicomines

Export of copper by Sicomines in the Congo have been halted by the Congolese government, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Congolese government order Sinohydro Corp. and China Railway Construction Corp.’s local mining venture to stop exporting unprocessed copper and instead exporting “high-value products.”

Shanghai Zinc Hits 9.5-Year High

Zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange jumped 4% on Monday, reaching its highest point in 9 1/2 years, according to Reuters.

Free Sample Report: Our Annual Metal Buying Outlook

According to Reuters, the metal rose on both supply concerns and “expectations for improved liquidity in markets in China.”

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

The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently issued preliminary determinations in countervailing duty (CVD) and antidumping investigations of imports from Japan, China, Romania, Kazakhstan and others.

Benchmark Your Current Metal Price by Grade, Shape and Alloy: See How it Stacks Up

Last week, the department added Canada to the list, dropping a major countervailing duty on imports of large civil aircraft. The move, coincidentally, came just before the third round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation talks, which wrapped up Sept. 27 in Ottawa.

The Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination early last week in its CVD investigation of imports of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada, resulting in a whopping 219.63% tariff on the CSeries of planes exported to the U.S. by Bombardier, Inc.

“The U.S. values its relationships with Canada, but even our closest allies must play by the rules,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a prepared statement. “The subsidization of goods by foreign governments is something that the Trump Administration takes very seriously, and we will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of this preliminary determination.”

According to the Department of Commerce’s preliminary ruling, exporters of the aircraft received countervailable subsidies of 219.63%.

The Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft based on these preliminary rates.

The Boeing Company was the petitioner in the case. Petitions were filed April 27.

The ruling is a big win for Boeing — if it holds, that is — which as Bloomberg reported late last week, has developed an unlikely positive relationship with President Donald Trump.

However, as NAFTA negotiations unfold, such a move is sure to increase tensions. According to a recent Ipsos poll, just 33% of Canadians said renegotiating NAFTA was a good thing, compared with 48% of Americans and 46% of Mexicans — indicating, to an extent, that Canada is happy with the current order of business (of course, it’s just one poll).

Naturally, imposition of a nearly 220% tariff on any product, let alone large aircraft, is going to be a big deal. Bombardier’s stock dropped $0.07 from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, from $1.82 to $.175 (a 3.7% drop). Boeing, meanwhile, closed at $253.70 on the New York Stock Exchange Sept. 26, compared to a closing price of $256 on Monday.

According to a Reuters report, threats of retaliation from Quebec were already being heard late last week.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard took the Commerce Department’s preliminary ruling very seriously.

“Boeing may have won a battle but, let me tell you, the war is far from over. And we will win,” Couillard said, according to the Reuters report.

The ruling is only preliminary, but it certainly ratchets up tensions in what has already been a NAFTA dialogue fraught with tension, in large part a result of the accelerated negotiating schedule.

In addition, the ruling is not the first one this year to target Canadian imports. On June 26, the department issued a preliminary ruling calling for duties of 30.88% to 17.41% on imports of softwood lumber from Canada.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

The Department of Commerce has launched 68 antidumping or CVD investigations this year between Jan. 20 and Sept. 20, representing a 45% increase in cases from the same time frame last year, according to the department’s release.

A final CVD determination in the investigation is scheduled for Dec. 12.