Articles in Category: Global Trade

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization dipped to 84.8% last week; meanwhile, General Motors signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Renewable Energy to develop a rare earths supply chain; and, lastly, the United States Trade Representative commented on potential targeted exclusions for the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods implemented during the Trump administration.

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 at 84.8%

steelmaking in an EAF

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U.S. steel capacity utilization fell to 84.8% for the week ending Oct. 2, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The rate dipped from 85.2% the previous week. Meanwhile, steel output last week totaled 1.87 million net tons, AISI reported. The total marked a 0.4% decline from the previous week but a 21.6% year-over-year increase.

Production in the year to date reached 71.4 million net tons, up 20.3% year over year.

GM, GE Renewable Energy sign MoU

General Motors and GM Renewable Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) through which they will work to develop a supply chain for rare earths and other materials needed for electric vehicles and renewable energy.

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This morning in metals news: Cleveland-Cliffs and workers at its Rockport Works have agreed on a new three-year labor deal; the U.S. goods and services deficit increased in August; and, lastly, Rio Tinto reached a new collective labor agreement with workers at its BC Works.

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Cleveland-Cliffs, Rockport workers reach three-year labor deal

Cleveland-Cliffs logo

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Cleveland-Cliffs and the United Auto Workers union, which represents workers at the Rockport Works operation in Indiana, agreed to a new three-year labor deal.

The new contract went into effect Oct. 1, 2021. Furthermore, the new deal includes 350 workers at the Rockport facility.

According to information on the company’s website, the facility has an 80-inch wide galvanizing line, which it says is the widest in the U.S.

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copper stored in warehouse

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This morning in metals news: Events in China are affecting the copper market; the London Metals Exchange may get a new member to its ring, the influential trading group that may be facing more changes itself; and look for our MMO today.

Are you under pressure to generate steel cost savings? Make sure you are following these five best practices

London copper price falls on China worries

London copper prices are being buffeted by widespread power restrictions in China and a looming debt crisis by Chinese property giant Evergrande Group, Reuters reports, seeing a weekly price decline for three-month copper of 3.7% as investors reduced risk exposure.

“China’s power shortage has prompted analysts to cut growth outlook in the world’s biggest metals consumer, and its factory activity unexpectedly shrank in September, partially due to the curbs,” Reuters said.

Chinese markets were closed Friday for a weeklong public holiday.

Changes for LME ring

For the first time in 14 years, a new firm will join the London Metal Exchange’s trading ring, a source tells Reuters. Sigma Broking Ltd, which trades equity, fixed income and commodities, did not comment. And other developments indicate that the ring — eight other banks and brokers that trade in the ring or open outcry — may be losing its influence anyway.

Monthly Metal Outlook comes out today

MetalMiner’s October edition of the Monthly Metal Outlook (MMO) comes out today. Subscribers get it in their inbox on the first of every month. Get a sample report here. The MMO includes:

  • Current prices and forecast price ranges for aluminum, nickel, copper, lead, zinc, tin, HRC, CRC, HDG and steel plate
  • Independent trend analysis (price drivers, macro and microeconomic influences and more)
  • Metal-specific buying strategies
  • Ongoing price alerts if markets change quickly

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. On Oct. 28, the topic is “How Artificial Intelligence and Technical Analysis Provide Actionable Metals Buying Insights.” Sign up on the MetalMiner Events page.

crude oil

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This morning in metals news: In a bid to aid domestic refiners currently limited by steep energy costs, China announced plans to auction crude oil from its strategic reserves. In other news, Shell declares force majeure as Hurricane Ida’s fallout continues. Also in the news, July steel shipments show 37% year over year rise.

Cut-to-length adders. Width and gauge adders. Coatings. Feel confident in knowing what you should be paying for metal with MetalMiner should-cost models.

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Diplomatic relations between China and Australia have been strained over the past year.

However, that does not seem to have affected trade between the two nations.

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China-Australia trade

China and Australia flags

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After posting record exports in May and June 2021, Australia recently announced a new record in July. Exports of iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas exports all rose strongly, giving Australia a record trade surplus, plus a boost to mining profits and tax revenue.

“Non-rural goods rose $2,275m (7%), driven by other mineral fuels, metal ores and minerals and coal, coke and briquettes,” the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported.

“The increases in other mineral fuels and coal, coke and briquettes were driven by LNG and thermal coal, respectively. Increased exports to Northern Asian countries coincided with an unseasonably warm northern summer.

“The increase in metal ores and minerals was driven by iron ore on the back of strong demand from China.”

In July, total exports, including services, reached a record of A$45.95 billion.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the trade surplus climbed to A$12.1 billion (US $8.91 billion) in July. The surplus reached an already high A$11.1 billion in June.

Overall, exports were up 5% because of strong demand from Asian countries for LNG and thermal coal, combined with higher prices for iron ore, Reuters reported.

Imports rose 3% to $33.8 billion, largely due to a sharp increase in parts and accessories for telecommunications equipment.

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This morning in metals news: new orders for manufactured goods posted an increase in July from the previous month; meanwhile, U.S. productivity rose by 2.1% in Q2 2021; and, lastly, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit fell from June to July.

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New orders for manufactured goods rise 0.4%

automotive production

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New orders for manufactured goods rose by 0.4% in July, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

Furthermore, new orders for manufactured goods have increased in 14 of the last 15 months. July orders amounted to a value of $508.1 billion.

New orders had increased by 1.5% in June.

Productivity jumps 2.1%

U.S. nonfarm labor productivity increased by 2.1% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

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This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro plans to expand capacity at its Sjunnen aluminum extrusion plant; the Pilbara Ports Authority reported a decline in throughput in July; and, lastly, the United States International Trade Commission conducted a five-year sunset review on existing duty orders for carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe from China.

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Hydro to boost capacity at Sjunnen

Norsk Hydro

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Oslo-based Norsk Hydro announced it plans to increase capacity at its extrusion plant in Sjunnen, Sweden.

The firm said it will finalize the expansion, which comes at a cost of €11.3 million, by the end of 2022.

“The decision to expand the aluminium casthouse operations in Sjunnen comes in response to an increased market demand for low-carbon aluminium profiles across all industries where Hydro Extrusions operates,” Hydro said.

“Furthermore, the location in the south of Sweden is ideal to capture available used aluminium metal from local industries which otherwise would have had to be transported long distances, increasing cost and carbon footprint of the final product.”

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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:

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Week of Aug. 16-20 (shipping sector disruptions, Chinese steel prices and more)


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steel shipment

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Despite all the media coverage and public proclamations, did we really believe China was going to force its massive steel industry to shutter capacity and retrench if it meant an impact on GDP growth?

For a while it seemed as if they were going to follow through on their declarations. Certainly prices rallied strongly on the anticipation that steel output would be restricted and as a result scarcity would drive prices higher. On the supply side iron ore took a tumble as volumes were expected to be hit if the second half of the year experienced a sharp reduction in output.

We know what you should be paying for metals. MetalMiner should-cost models are the ultimate savings hack by showing you the “should-cost” price for gauge, width, polish and finish adders. Explore what value they can add for your organization.

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This morning in metals news: miner Rio Tinto said it had committed funding of $2.4 billion toward the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia; meanwhile, the U.S. international trade in goods deficit rose in June; and, finally, the United States International Trade Commission determined imports of metal lockers from China materially injure U.S. industry.

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Rio Tinto commits funding for Jadar lithium project

Rio Tinto sign

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Rio Tinto announced this week that it had committed $2.4 billion in funding toward the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia.

“The Jadar project would scale up Rio Tinto’s exposure to battery materials, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to investing capital in a disciplined manner to further strengthen its portfolio for the global energy transition,” the miner said.

“Jadar will produce battery-grade lithium carbonate, a critical mineral used in large scale batteries for electric vehicles and storing renewable energy, and position Rio Tinto as the largest source of lithium supply in Europe for at least the next 15 years. In addition, Jadar will produce borates, which are used in solar panels and wind turbines.”

US trade deficit rises in June

According to Census Bureau figures released today, the U.S. international trade deficit rose 3.5% from May to June.

The deficit reached an estimated $91.2 billion last month.

June exports came in at a value of $145.5 billion. Meanwhile, imports came in at a value of $236.7 billion.

USITC votes on metal lockers from China

Lastly, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) yesterday determined imports of metal lockers from China materially injure domestic industry.

“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of metal lockers from China that the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidized by the government of China and sold in the United States at less than fair value,” the USITC said in a release.

As a result, the Department of Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders for the product.

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