Articles in Category: Ferrous Metals

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) increased by 16.5% this month, as steel prices showed strength in December.

January 2021 Raw Steels MMI chart

U.S. steel events

The American Iron and Steel Institute, the Steel Manufacturers Association, the United Steelworkers union, the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports and the American Institute of Steel Construction sent a letter to Joe Biden urging him to keep the 25% national security tariffs on steel imports that were imposed in 2018.

The industry groups emphasized that the tariffs are essential “to ensure the viability of the domestic steel industry in the face of this massive and growing excess steel capacity.”

“Removing or weakening of these measures before major steel producing countries eliminate their overcapacity — and the subsidies and other trade-distorting policies that have fueled the steel crisis — will only invite a new surge in imports with devastating effects to domestic steel producers and their workers,” the letter continued.

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steel tariff

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This morning in metals news: several industry groups urged President-elect Joe Biden to continue existing steel tariffs and quotas; Germany’s OGE and Thyssenkrupp and Norwegian energy company Equinor are collaborating to mitigate emissions; and Norsk Hydro and Nuvosil are working on aluminum and silicon recycling technology.

Industry groups urge Biden to keep steel tariffs

President Donald Trump in 2018 used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose steel tariffs of 25%.

The steel tariffs remain in place, as does the 10% tariff on aluminum.

President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office next week. As such, many have wondered how the former vice president’s trade policy will differ from Trump’s approach.

In a joint letter, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), the United Steelworkers union (USW), The Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI) and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) urged Biden to keep the steel tariffs in place.

“Continuation of the [steel] tariffs and quotas is essential to ensuring the viability of the domestic steel industry in the face of this massive and growing excess steel capacity,” the statement reads.

The letter adds that removing or weakening the measures will invite a “new surge” in imports.

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OGE, Thyssenkrupp, Equinor work together to curb Duisburg emissions

According to Reuters, German firms OGE and Thyssenkrupp and Norwegian energy company Equinor will work together to curb emissions from Thyssenkrupp’s plant in Duisburg, Germany.

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steel arrow up

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This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization reached 75.4% for the week ending Jan. 9; General Motors announced the launch of BrightDrop; and Rusal America announced a new line of aluminum additive manufacturing powders.

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Steel capacity utilization reaches 75.4%

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate reached 75.4% for the week ending Jan. 9, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

The rate increased from 74.6% the previous week.

Production during the week ending Jan. 9 totaled 1.71 million net tons, up 3.6% from the previous week. However, output during the week declined 10.3% year over year.

General Motors launches new BrightDrop business

General Motors today announced the launch of a new business called BrightDrop, which it says will “offer an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to empower delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently.”

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U.S. trade

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This morning in metals news: the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis reported the U.S. goods and services deficit totaled $68.1 billion in November; the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is hoping to win a compensation deal from miner Vale; and the American Iron and Steel Institute released steel import data for December.

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Goods and services deficit reaches $68.1B

The U.S. goods and services deficit reached $68.1 billion in November, the Census Bureau and BEA reported.

The deficit jumped from $63.1 billion in October.

Brazilian state aims to win settlement from miner over 2019 dam disaster

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is in talks over a settlement deal with miner Vale vis-a-vis the fatal Brumadinho tailings dam collapse in 2019, Reuters reported.

Per Reuters, the state is seeking a settlement worth at least $5.3 billion.

Government and Vale officials were set to meet today, according to Reuters.

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Steel production

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This morning in metals news: the American Iron and Steel Institute released its first report on U.S. raw steel production for 2021; Nippon Steel eyes its net-zero emissions goals; and, lastly, the U.S. hot-rolled coil price continues to surge.

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AISI releases first raw steel production data of 2021

For the week ending Jan. 2, the U.S.’s raw steel production totaled 1.65 million net tons, AISI reported Monday afternoon.

Steel output for the week came at a capacity utilization rate of 74.6%. The rate jumped from 72.3% the previous week.

Nippon strives toward net-zero future

Aside from U.S. raw steel production, in a question-and-answer session with Nikkei Asia, Nippon Steel President Eiji Hashimoto discussed the company’s efforts toward reaching net-zero emissions.

Hashimoto told Nikkei the company aims to reach net-zero in the steelmaking process by 2050.

HRC continues rise

Speaking of steel production, U.S. HRC price shows no signs of slowing down, closing Monday at $983 per short ton.

Furthermore, the price is up 27.5% over the past month. The HRC price has more than doubled since mid-Q2 2020, when it fell to around $460 per short ton.

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Turkey flag

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While Turkey’s finished steel products enjoy local demand, lower costs and the country’s location between Europe and Asia have also made steel exports from there attractive, market watchers told MetalMiner.

Turkey’s trade in steel exports came to 9.4 million mt in the first seven months of 2020. The total is down 12.1% year over year from 10.7 million mt, a report from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) indicated.

Domestic steel trade rose 10.8% to 7.2 million mt in the first seven months of 2020, compared with 6.5 million mt over the same time in 2019, TurkStat noted.

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Demand for steel from Turkey

Besides North America and Europe, Turkish steel has also seen demand from emerging economic areas, such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa, the same source said.

Turkey is also among the world’s few steelmaking majors to see gains in crude steel production over 2020. This came despite the economic slowdowns the COVID-19 pandemic caused.

Total crude production by Turkish mills in November rose 11.6% year over year to 3.22 million mt. The total marked an increase from almost 2.9 million mt, the World Steel Association (worldsteel) reported Dec. 22.

The first 11 months of 2020 saw those mills produce over 32.4 million mt. The total reflected a 4.9% rise compared with the same time frame in 2019, worldsteel noted.

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imports

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This morning in metals news: U.S. steel imports dropped 22.1% year over year through the first 11 months of the year; the U.S. international trade deficit rose by 5.5% from October to November; and global aluminum production totaled 5.47 million metric tons in November.

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U.S. steel imports drop

U.S. steel imports fell by 22.1% year over year through November, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

The U.S. imported 20.5 million net tons of steel this year.

Meanwhile, in November, the U.S. imported 1.37 million net tons of steel, a 9.2% drop compared with October.

U.S. trade deficit rises in November

The U.S. international trade deficit totaled $84.8 billion in November, up 5.5% from $80.4 billion in October, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

Imports in November came in at $212 billion, up $5.5 billion from October.

Global aluminum production

Global aluminum production totaled 5.47 million metric tons in November, the International Aluminum Institute reported.

The total marked an increase from the 5.26 million metric tons produced in November 2019.

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China story steel production

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Continuing our look back at the best of 2020, today we’ll take one last review of the top steel posts of the year here on MetalMiner.

As with metals as a whole, steel prices experienced a rocky 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic slammed metals demand overall, including steel demand. The automotive industry idled production at the end of Q1 and into Q2, severely denting demand.

However, eventually automakers restarted lines and demand returned. As the year has progressed, steel prices have continued to rise and show no signs of slowing down in the near term. The U.S. HRC price, for example, is up a whopping 28.61% over the last month.

With that, let’s take a look back at the most-viewed steel stories of the year.

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Best of 2020: top steel posts

  1. Coronavirus likely to impact steel, iron ore demand in 2020

  2. This Morning in Metals: U.S. steel prices rise

  3. India’s steel sector struggled in 2019 — but what does 2020 hold?

  4. Trump expands Section 232 tariffs on steel, aluminum derivatives

  5. China’s steel industry likely to see cutbacks as stocks rise amid coronavirus crisis

  6. Raw Steels MMI: Index increases by 9%

  7. Raw Steels MMI: U.S. steel prices make gains, aided by auto sector

  8. Stainless MMI: Stainless steel surcharges rise for fourth straight month

  9. Chinese construction steel prices dip amid cluster of new coronavirus cases

  10. Raw Steels MMI: U.S. price increases push three-point index gain

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hot-rolled coil steel

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This morning in metals news: U.S. Steel sold the Keystone Industrial Port Complex for $160 million; ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel will build a new electric arc furnace at their joint venture in Alabama; and, finally, the aluminum price has retraced slightly in December.

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U.S. Steel sells Keystone Industrial Port Complex

U.S. Steel recently announced it has closed on the sale of its Keystone Port Industrial Complex in Fairness Hills, Pennsylvania.

The sales of the “non-core real estate asset” comes for $160 million.

 ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel to build Alabama EAF

Nippon Steel said it and ArcelorMittal would bring a new electric arc furnace to their joint venture in Calvert, Alabama.

The steelmaker it expects production to begin in the first half of 2023.

The Calvert facility is a 50:50 joint venture of the two firms.

“Calvert currently produces steel sheet products by processing semi-finished products (slabs) procured from domestic and overseas suppliers,” Nippon Steel said in a Dec. 22 announcement. “With the newly-built EAF, Calvert will be able to manufacture by itself part of slabs necessary to produce its steel sheet products and will strive for further strengthening its competitiveness through advantages of the self-manufacture, such as shortening lead time in slab procurement, improving its productivity through utilization of self-manufactured high temperature slabs, and increasing the domestic procurement ratio of slabs.”

Aluminum pulls back

Like many metals, aluminum has been on a steady rise since May.

However, in December, aluminum has pulled back a little bit.

The LME three-month aluminum price remains up 2.2% month over month after closing last week at $2,025 per metric ton. Meanwhile, the metal started the month just north of $2,060 per metric ton.

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There has been quite a bit of analyst chatter about the likely impact of China’s return to the steel scrap market next year.

In 2019, the authorities essentially banned steel scrap imports. The move came, in part, because many of the grades were classified as waste. However, of late the rumor is China will be moving to reclassify ferrous scrap as a recyclable resource and could lift the import ban (probably in Q1 2021).

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Steel scrap imports plunge

According to Platts, China has 184 million tons of EAF steelmaking capacity at the end of 2020. Furthermore, the country will likely have 197 million tons by end of 2021.

The totals are up from 175 million ton at the end of 2019, when scrap imports had plunged to just 180,000 tons due to the ban.

Domestic steel scrap production has been on the rise, generating some 240 million tons in 2019. As such, the 2014-18 average annual imports figure can be seen as minuscule by comparison.

But while they may be small, they are not insignificant.

Normally, imports rise and fall relative to the premium arbitrage of domestic prices over world prices. Currently, domestic steel scrap prices in China are said to be about $60/mt or Yuan 400/mt over Southeast Asian seaborne scrap prices on like-for-like grades (when freight and taxes are included).

Should imports be relaxed, there is, therefore, the potential to suck in considerable imports.

Platts suggests this would not top the record 13.7 million tons imported in 2009. Some, however, disagree, saying it could reach 20 million tons.

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