Articles in Category: Ferrous Metals

This morning in metals news: Chinese steel prices have plunged early this week following Beijing’s weekend warning to commodity speculators; MetalMiner is hosting its monthly webinar tomorrow, May 27, at 11:30 a.m. CDT; and the US Census Bureau released data on April steel imports.

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Chinese steel prices fall

China steel production

Zhao Jiankang/AdobeStock

As we noted earlier this week, the Chinese government over the weekend issued a warning to commodity speculators in an effort to restore “normal market order.”

Several Chinese steel prices have taken significant falls early this week. The Chinese steel slab price fell from 6,340 CNY ($992) per metric ton to 5,350 CNY ($837).

Meanwhile, Chinese steel plate dipped from 6,810 CNY ($1,066) to 5,850 CNY ($915). Steel rebar plunged from 5,570 CNY ($872) to 4,950 CNY ($775). Meanwhile, H-beam steel fell from 6,070 CNY ($950) to 5,360 CNY ($839).

Historically, Chinese steel prices lead US steel prices. As such, steel buyers will want to continue to monitor prices for any indications of retrenchment in the US steel market.

MetalMiner webinar on Thursday, May 27

Speaking of falling prices, MetalMiner is hosting its next webinar tomorrow (Thursday, May 27) at 11:30 a.m. CDT.

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China’s “zero tolerance” warning to commodity speculators over the weekend sent prices of some metals and iron ore tumbling.

A meeting held on Sunday between at least five government departments, including the the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), concluded that the fight against hoarders and speculators leading to soaring commodities prices would be taken to the next level.

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Beijing aims to control runaway prices, warns commodity speculators

China map

Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

Bloomberg reported the government had also threatened severe punishment for violators indulging in excessive speculation and fake news in the trading of commodities including iron ore, steel and copper.

The NDRC summoned top metals producers to the meeting in Beijing.

Let’s not forget that China is the largest consumer of some of these commodities, like iron ore and copper. The prices of these commodities have surged this year, as the global economy partially recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, that has led to renewed demand for manufactured goods.

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This morning in metals news: the US steel capacity utilization rate reached 79.0% last week; the state-owned Indonesia Battery Corporation and South Korea’s LG will build a $1.2 billion battery plant in Indonesia; and the copper price has cooled since reaching an all-time high earlier this month.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

US steel capacity utilization rate at 79.0%

hot rolled steel

niteenrk/Adobe Stock

US steel capacity utilization reached 79.0% for the week ending May 22, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

The rate marked a decline from 79.2% posted the previous week. Meanwhile, the rate for the same week in 2020 had reached just 54.6%.

Production during the week ending May 22 totaled 1,793,000 net tons, down 0.3% from the previous week. However, the output total marked an increase of 46.6% on a year-over-year basis.

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Iakov Kalinin/Adobe Stock

The phrase “be careful what you wish for” is often used by those who smirk at an unexpected outcome from a decision.

But some in the British Conservative party’s so-called Red Wall – those former Labour or center-left voters who swung behind the Conservative, or center-right, party in supporting Britain’s departure from Europe — must be wondering why the land of milk and honey is not by now the norm.

The industrial middle and north of England overwhelmingly voted for Brexit, as it quickly became termed. Those voters narrowly swinged the vote in favor of leaving, over the wishes of London, the southeast, Wales and Scotland.

But those same voters are increasingly facing several changes that threaten their livelihoods.

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

Protectionism and UK steel

First up is a preliminary decision by the UK Department for International Trade to remove a number of products from so-called import “safeguards” adopted from Britain legacy rules in the European Union. The safeguards aimed to protect domestic producers from cheap imports.

The system sets quarterly quotas for steel products that come in with nominal duty. When the country reaches the quota, a massive 25% tariff comes into play to dissuade larger volumes.

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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 copper price developments, an upcoming MetalMiner webinar and more:

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

copper mine

Gary Whitton/Adobe Stock

Week of May 17-21 (copper prices, MetalMiner webinar and more)

All the metals intelligence you need in one user-friendly platform with unlimited usage — request a MetalMiner Insights platform demo.

MetalMiner logoThis morning in metals news: an upcoming MetalMiner webinar will cover the signs metals buyers should look out for when assessing when allocation markets might be coming to an end; meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. took home a prize for advanced high-strength steel innovations; and, lastly, steel prices continue to rise.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Upcoming MetalMiner webinar

On Thursday, May 27, the MetalMiner team will host the next installment of our monthly webinar series. This time, participants will gain some insights about allocation markets and shortages. For example, what signs should buyers monitor to know when shortages are beginning to ease?

The 30-minute webinar begins at 11:30 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 27. Registration is free. To sign up, visit the event’s registration page.

The webinar will be recorded, so those who miss it will be able to watch it later on-demand.

Meanwhile, MetalMiner CEO Lisa Reisman and Vice President of Business Solutions Don Hauser joined Roth Capital Partners yesterday for a webinar on metals pricing, supply and demand.

If you missed it and are interested in the conversation, register on the Roth website for access to the recording on-demand.

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This morning in metals news: UC Rusal will demerge its high-carbon assets; meanwhile, steel industry groups issued a renewed call to the Biden administration to ask him to keep the Section 232 steel tariff in place; and the copper price has picked back up this week.

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UC Rusal to demerge high-carbon assets

Rusal logo

pvl/Adobe Stock

En+ Group, parent group of Russian aluminum giant UC Rusal, announced today that the latter will demerge its high-carbon assets.

In addition, UC Rusal also plans to change its name to AL+.

The company plans to focus on developing inert anode technology and working toward production of carbon-free aluminum.

“This announcement is another major step in our journey to lead the global aluminium industry into the low carbon economy,” said Lord Barker, executive chairman of En+ Group. “AL+ will be a market leader in green aluminium production as measured by carbon footprint and other environmental credentials. However, this demerger additionally secures the future of important assets in Russia that also have a future in a low carbon world but which require a fundamentally different approach to technology and a different investment path to our major international businesses.”

Meanwhile, the demerged higher-carbon assets will form a new company under a new name. That includes alumina refineries in Russia (Achinsk, Pikalevo, Bogoslovsk and Ural) and smelters in Bratsk, Irkutsk, Novokuznetsk, Volgograd and Kandalaksha, all of which it says will undertake a “long-term modernisation programme.”

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This morning in metals news: the US steel capacity utilization rate increased by over a percentage point last week; the Census Bureau released data for April residential construction; and average retail gas prices in the US are over $3.00 per gallon for the first time since 2014.

With volatile steel markets, knowing which strategy to execute and when can make all the difference between saving and losing money. See how MetalMiner looks at different market scenarios

US steel capacity utilization hits 79.2%

steelmaking in an EAF

nikitos77/Adobe Stock

The US steel capacity utilization rate for the week ending May 15 reached 79.2%, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

Production during the week totaled 1,799,000 tons, up 47.1% on a year-over-year basis. Meanwhile, production for the week jumped by 1.4% compared with the week ending May 8.

The steel capacity utilization rate jumped by over a percentage point from the previous week, when it checked in at 78.1%.

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This morning in metals news: the United States Trade Representative today announced the US and EU will begin discussions aimed at addressing global steel and aluminum overcapacity; meanwhile, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and United Steelworkers union issued their own statements on the news; and, lastly, three major miners have launched a competition for innovators to come up with designs for electrified mine truck fleets.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

US, EU to begin talks on global steel, aluminum overcapacity

China steel production

Zhao Jiankang/AdobeStock

The US and EU have formally kickstarted new discussions on how to tackle the problems of global steel and aluminum overcapacity.

“United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis today announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity,” the USTR said in a release today. “During a virtual meeting last week, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232.”

In addition, per the statement, the parties aim to find solutions to the challenges before the end of the year.

AISI, USW reactions

Meanwhile, the American Iron and Steel Institute reacted to the news of the renewed overcapacity talks.

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copper smelter

Bombardho/Adobe Stock

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

In addition, our May 2021 Monthly Metals Index (MMI) PDF is now available for download. The PDF summary includes an executive summary, trends chart and portions of each MMI article (with each page including a link to the full article).

This month’s MMI continued the general theme of rising prices. Copper, for example, reach an all-time high this week. Iron ore and steel skyrocketed, while just about everything else also moved upward.

As for stainless steel, the United Steelworkers union’s ATI strike continues. The MetalMiner team broke down the stainless market recently as part of our monthly webinar series, a video replay of which is available in the MetalMiner video archive.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Week of May 10-14 (the copper price, U.S. Steel’s big announcement and much more)

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