Articles in Category: Exports

ronniechua/Adobe Stock

On Monday, the U.S. announced an agreement in principle regarding aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), albeit in a bilateral sense, as Canada remained on the sidelines of the talks between the U.S. and Mexico.

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

“The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement in principle, subject to finalization and implementation, to update the 24-year-old NAFTA with modern provisions representing a 21st century, high-standard agreement,” the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in a release. “The updated agreement will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America.”

Talks to modernize the 24-year-old trilateral trade agreement began in August 2017 and underwent numerous rounds, encountering challenges along the way.

Read more

Dmitry/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals-related storylines here on MetalMiner:

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

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

Dmitry/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, energy companies are lobbying for exemptions from the U.S. steel tariff, U.S. steel exports dropped in April compared with the previous month, and steel and iron ore prices fell by the greatest amount since March.

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

Asking for Exemptions

Several U.S. energy companies are looking to win exemptions from the U.S.’s 25% steel tariff, Reuters reported.

Of the nearly 21,000 exclusion requests received by the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than 500 are related to pipes and related materials, according to the report.

U.S. Steel Exports Down in April

The U.S.’s steel exports fell by 1% in April compared to the previous month, according to American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) data cited by the Times of Northwest Indiana.

The steel export level in April, however, was up 0.5% compared with April 2017.

Steel Prices Drop

Prices of steel and iron ore fell by the greatest amount since March, according to Bloomberg, as trade tensions ratcheted up in the last week. The U.S. announced $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday, and President Donald Trump threatened an additional $200 billion in tariffs.

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

Iron ore prices fell to a two-month low, according to the report, while LME nickel, zinc and copper all also fell.

China could be said to be making hay while the sun shines.

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

A report in AluminiumInsider quotes China’s General Administration of Customs, saying the country’s total exports last month came to 485,000 metric tons, accounting for the second-highest total in the administration’s record-keeping history.

May’s output beat April’s total of 451,000 metric tons by 7.5% and bested May shipments a year earlier of 430,000 metric tons (a 12.8% increase). Only December 2014 had been higher at 542,700 metric tons.

But suggestions that this is the start of a flood may be premature.

Read more

Dmitry/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Trump announces $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, China responds to warn retaliatory tariffs are imminent and E.U. members are supportive of retaliatory measures against the U.S.’s Section 232 tariffs.

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

Trump Announces $50M in Tariffs on China

In line with media reports earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. will impose $50 million in tariffs on Chinese goods, particularly related to technology, Reuters reported.

China Says Retaliatory Tariffs Coming

On the heels of the U.S. tariff announcement, China says it plans to impose tariffs of the “same scale,” according to a CNBC report.

E.U. Keen on Payback for Steel Tariff

Speaking of retaliation, E.U. nations are ready to retaliate agains the U.S. and its 25% steel tariffs, Reuters reported.

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

E.U. countries unanimously voted in support placing import duties of $3.3 billion of U.S. goods.

Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

This morning in metal news, steel and aluminum exports from China were up in May; the National Retail Federation CEO panned the U.S.’s tariffs; and a White House economic analysis reportedly concludes President Trump’s tariffs will hurt economic growth.

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

Exports on the Rise

Despite rising trade tensions, including Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, China’s export totals of steel and aluminum were both up in May, according to Reuters.

Chinese aluminum exports were at their highest level in 3 1/2 years, according to the report.

NRF CEO Criticizes Tariffs

Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, was critical of the Trump administration’s trade agenda vis-a-vis tariffs, CNBC reported.

Shay, who spoke positively about the president’s December tax cut, argued the tariffs are counterproductive.

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

“It makes no sense to go down this road when we have all this momentum,” Shay told CNBC.

White House Economic Analysis Bearish on Tariffs

According to a report by The New York Times, a White House economic analysis of the impact of Trump’s tariffs concludes they will hurt economic growth.

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

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that it made a final affirmative determination in its anti-dumping investigation of stainless steel flanges from China.

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

According to a release, Commerce determined Chinese exporters sold the product at 257.11% less than fair value.

Imports of the stainless steel flanges from China in 2017 amounted to 2,964 metric tons and were valued at $21.8 million, according to the DOC. The 2017 import total marked a 20.8% increase from the 2,454 metric tons imported from China in 2016.

The Coalition of American Flange Producers and its individual members — Core Pipe Products, Inc. (Carol Stream, Illinois) and Maass Flange Corporation (Houston, Texas) — were the petitioners in the case (the petitions were filed in August 2017).

The DOC assigned the rate specifically to China’s Shanxi Guanjiaying Flange Forging Group Co., “based on adverse facts available due to the respondent’s failure to provide complete responses to certain sections of Commerce’s questionnaire.” Similar reasoning was made for the China-wide rate — also 257.11% — which several other companies fall under. The DOC fact sheet on the probe also names the following Chinese firms: Hydro-Fluids Controls Limited; Songhai Flange Manufacturing Co., Ltd.; and Dongtai QB Stainless Steel Co., Ltd.

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

The case now moves to the U.S. International Trade Commission. If that body also rules in the affirmative, the DOC will issue an anti-dumping duty order. A decision is expected by July 19.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, Chinese steel exporters are looking for new destinations for their products, U.S. Steel is planning on restarting another Illinois blast furnace and steel production is up 1.9% in the year to date.

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

Looking For Buyers

On the heels of U.S. trade actions, Chinese steelmakers are looking to find buyers in Africa and South America for their products, Reuters reported.

According to the report, Chinese exports to markets like South Korea and Vietnam have dropped by double digits since last year.

U.S. Steel to Restart Another Blast Furnace in Illinois

After an announcement of the restarting of a blast furnace earlier this year, on Tuesday U.S. Steel announced plans to restart another blast furnace at its Granite City plant in Illinois, MarketWatch reported.

The steelmakers plans to have the furnace up and running by Oct. 1, bringing on 300 more workers in the process, according to the report.

Steel Production on the Rise

U.S. steel production for the year to date is up 1.9%, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported, citing American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) data.

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

For the week ending June 2, production was up 0.76% from the previous week, according to the report.

Steelmakers’ fortunes are up, and for that we should all rejoice; an industry fighting bankruptcy or suffering long-running losses is not an industry that invests in its products or services.

But questions remain about how long the current run of good fortune will continue for Western steelmakers.

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

Source: Financial Times

Posting Profits

On the plus side ArcelorMittal has just posted its best quarter since 2011 with EBITDA quarterly core profits rising 17% year on year to $2.5 billion for the January-March period.

Analysts quoted in the Financial Times put the recovery down to rounds of cost-cutting and efficiency instigated after the downturn of 2015-16. Rising global GDP and, hence, demand has built on these improvements to raise prices for steelmakers and, in particular, the delta between raw material costs and finished steel prices, lifting profitability to the highest in a decade.

Source: Financial Times

ThyssenKrupp of Germany posted a tripling of half-year earnings on the back of better sales prices and reduced losses, having offloaded its South American slab mill to Siderúrgica do Atlântico (CSA) and its Calvert, Alabama carbon and stainless mills to ArcelorMittal/Nippon Steel and Outokumpo, respectively.

Some would argue it got out at the bottom of the market and would have lost less if it had held on for a better price when the market turned, but both plants were making losses and ThyssenKrupp was under pressure from shareholders to turn the group around.

ThyssenKrupp is not alone — many steel mills have demerged, shuttered, divested or otherwise re-structured in order to focus on their more profitable opportunities in recent years and are reaping the benefits.

Eyes on Chinese Exports

However, the extent to which this happy state of affairs can continue lies, at least in part, in China.

As the Financial Times points out, a combination of industrial reform in China and positive profit margins has lifted steelmakers’ focus on the domestic market and reduced exports. From a peak of 110 million tons in 2015, China’s steel exports have shrunk by one-third to 73.3 million tons in 2017. The Financial Times credits this restriction of supply as helping restore a sense of balance to the steel market, which is reflected in regional price rises in Europe and North America.

There remains dispute about the depth and speed of the steel market restructuring program in China, but even if it is not as radical as the authorities claim it has contributed to sentiment and supported prices. The questions the Financial Times poses is thus: how long will this new balance last and, with prices falling in China, will exports rise later this year?

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

Making Moves

An indication of European concern is a new registration program started just this month that requires importers to register all incoming shipments by origin, value and tariff code.

At present, there is no requirement for a license or any cases of approval not being given, but many see it as a first step to Brussels more closely monitoring steel (and aluminum) imports from China, Russia, etc., with a view to introducing quotas or tariffs if volumes rise.

For once, Brussels can be said to be ahead of the game.

Does your company strategy call for a European manufacturing base but you worry you have missed the boat in terms of accessing lower-cost opportunities created when eastern European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic came into the E.U.?

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

Lower land and labour costs, aligned with ample financial support from the E.U. to the poorer parts of Europe created a fertile investment environment for new business growth in these eastern European states. With a good standard of education, generally good rule of law and a high work ethic, it is not surprising eastern Europe has gone through something of an industrial revolution over the last 20 years.

But for firms looking to set up in those markets now, they are the Johnny-come-latelies to a maturing investment environment.

But fear not — a new wave of entrants may be on the horizon.

Read more