Articles in Category: Global Trade

This morning in metals news: LME copper prices have ticked up; the U.S. monthly trade deficit increased from October to November; and, lastly, WTI crude prices made some gains this week.

You want more MetalMiner on your terms. Sign up for weekly email updates here.

Copper prices rise

copper mine in Peru

Jose Luis Stephens/Adobe Stock

Copper prices had trended firmly in between MetalMiner support and resistance levels for much of Q4 2021.

However, copper prices have showed signs of upward momentum.

The LME three-month copper price closed Tuesday at $9,759 per metric ton. The price had increased 2.94% month over month, MetalMiner Insights data indicate.

US trade deficit reaches $80.2M in November

The U.S. trade deficit reached $80.2 billion in November, the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.

The deficit increased from $67.2 billion in October.

Read more

This morning in metals news: General Motors will invest $51 million to install equipment at its Bedford, Indiana aluminum casting die foundry; nickel prices have gained this past month; and, lastly, the U.K. trade minister reportedly told the U.S. they could consider expanding tariffs on U.S. goods if the U.S. does not remove the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Upcoming negotiation on your aluminum buy? Make sure you know how your service centers will negotiate with you

GM to invest in aluminum die casting foundry

General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

Katherine Welles/Adobe Stock

General Motors is investing $51 million to install new equipment at its aluminum die casting foundry in Bedford, Indiana.

The new equipment will support support the manufacture of “drive unit castings for the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and other current casting applications.”

GM will unveil its all-electric Silverado at the CES trade show Jan. 5, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nickel prices rise

Nickel prices have gained over the last month, according to MetalMiner Insights data.

Read more

This morning in metals news: OPEC held its 23rd ministerial meeting today amid falling oil prices; meanwhile, the United States International Trade Commission issued a ruling on import relief for the domestic crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell sector; and, lastly, the trade ministers of the U.S., Japan and the E.U. convened this week.

Want more from MetalMiner? We offer exclusive analyst commentary in our weekly updates – all metals, no sales fluff. 

OPEC meets as oil prices retreat

crude oil

phonlamaiphoto/Adobe Stock

Rising oil prices have been yet another strain on consumers, whether commercial users or everyday motorists at the pump. Oil prices are also a key factor in MetalMiner’s commodity trends analysis.

In the U.S., pre-Thanksgiving gasoline prices reached their highest level this year since 2012.

However, oil prices this past week have lost ground quickly. The WTI crude price, for example, closed Wednesday at $65.57 per barrel, down $12.82 per barrel from the previous week, the Energy Information Administration reported.

OPEC, meanwhile, convened via videoconference today for its 23rd ministerial meeting, during which it agreed to maintain previously agreed output schedules. The group agreed to “reconfirm the production adjustment plan and the monthly production adjustment mechanism approved at the 19th ONOMM and the decision to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.4 mb/d for the month of January 2022, as per the attached schedule.”

USITC votes on import relief for PV cell makers

United States International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to keep import relief measures in place for domestic producers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells.

Read more

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

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8, during which the MetalMiner team will discuss price predictions for 2022. To sign up, visit the MetalMiner Events page.

stainless steel rods

selenserger/Adobe Stock

Week of Nov. 15-19 (stainless steel base prices, infrastructure bill and more)

Want an occasional email from MetalMiner that highlights new content with no sales ploys? Join that list here.

Inflation is currently a hot topic on Wall Street and in Washington. For many, it’s a much more immediate issue than other major issues, like the impact of climate change.

A recent Financial Times post in the paper’s Trade Secrets newsletter posed a somewhat controversial but not inappropriate question: could removing tariffs be the answer to lowering inflation?

MetalMiner has launched a full suite of precious metals as part of the MetalMiner Insights platform. This includes a complete suite of catalytic converter precious metals, which are particularly useful for automotive end-use applications.

Inflation and tariffs

inflation definition highlighted

Feng Yu/Adobe Stock

Tariffs are certainly in the spotlight, the Financial Times suggests.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai was apparently asked by reporters in a roundtable last week if removing the Trump-era tariffs on Chinese imports was now under consideration. The U.S. Consumer Price Index showed a 6.2% gain in October from the previous year, its fastest increase since 1990. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, acknowledged this week that removing the tariffs would provide a one-off supply chain cost reduction that would “make some difference.”

Inflation is clearly a concern. However, why would you conflate one issue – protecting domestic intermediate product manufacturing – with the separate issue of wider economic inflation?

Then and now

There is little evidence that the original Trump tariffs resulted in inflation in the wider economy. Certainly, within the metals supply chain costs were passed directly down the line. Costs filtered down from either importers or by domestic mills opportunistically raising prices to the level of imports. But the impact proved relatively minor on the cost of a finished washing machine or an earth mover, the Financial Times reported, citing research results.

In our currently much more supply chain constrained and inflationary economic environment, removing the tariffs would result in a one-off modest drop in prices for many goods. The post makes an observation that savings rates remain high. The public has not spent all the savings accumulated during the lockdowns. Furthermore, the inflationary global logistics constraints abated. As such, demand in a constrained environment is likely to persist for some time.

In short, inflation isn’t going away any time soon.

Read more

This morning in metals news: Rio Tinto said it is investing US$87 million to increase its low-carbon aluminum production in Canada; new natural gas pipeline capacity came on stream in Q3 2021; and, lastly, the U.S., E.U. and Japan released a joint statement affirming their trilateral trade partnership.

Stay up to date on MetalMiner with weekly updates – without the sales pitch. Sign up now.

Rio Tinto invests in low-carbon aluminum production

Rio Tinto sign

Argus/Adobe Stock

Rio Tinto said it is investing US$87 billion to increase low-carbon aluminum production in Canada.

The firm will add 16 new smelting cells at the AP60 smelter in Quebec.

“The investment will increase production at the smelter by around 45 per cent, or 26,500 metric tonnes of primary aluminium per year, to a capacity of 86,500 metric tonnes and provide a secure future for approximately 100 employees who work at the facility,” the firm said.

Furthermore, Rio Tinto estimates the global aluminum market to grow by 3.3% per annum for the next decade.

Natural gas capacity comes online in Q3

The U.S. added new natural gas capacity in Q3 2021, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Read more

The United States and Japan have agreed to initiate talks regarding the former’s Section 232 tariffs on Japanese steel and aluminum imports, Reuters reported this week.

According to a report by AP, Japan’s industry ministry said Japan’s Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo attended the meeting. However, a ministry official said no concrete measures were discussed and no date was set for the talks.

The meeting comes after the U.S. administration said over last weekend that it would open talks to try to ease the tariffs.

Stay up to date on MetalMiner with weekly updates – without the sales pitch. Sign up now.

US, Japan at the negotiating table over Section 232

tariff

Feng Yu/Adobe Stock

The two nations have come to the negotiating table to resolve bilateral concerns from global non-market excess capacity driven largely by China, as well as the duties the U.S. imposes on imports, Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement last Friday.

“Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai reiterated concerns about the impact on U.S. industries stemming from global non-market excess capacity driven largely by China,” the statement reads. “The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to the market-oriented U.S. steel and aluminum industries and the workers in those industries.  The United States and Japan have a historic alliance, built on mutual trust and respect, and reflecting shared values and a strong commitment to resolving global challenges through closer cooperation.”

Earlier in November, Japan had requested the U.S. to abolish tariffs. Former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed the steel and aluminum tariffs in 2018, using Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Read more

This morning in metals news: ELYSIS, a joint venture of Alcoa and Rio Tinto, said it is one step closer to the production of carbon-free aluminum; the U.S. trade deficit in September reached $82.9 billion; and, lastly, aluminum and copper prices have leveled off after plunging to close October.

MetalMiner has launched a full suite of precious metals as part of the MetalMiner Insights platform. This includes a complete suite of catalytic converter precious metals, which are particularly useful for automotive end-use applications.

ELYSIS touts progress toward carbon-free aluminum

carbon footprint

NicoElNino/Adobe Stock

ELYSIS, a joint venture of Alcoa and Rio Tinto, said it is one step closer to the production of carbon-free aluminum.

The firm announced it produced aluminum “without any direct greenhouse emissions” at its Industrial Research and Development Center in Saguenay (QC), Canada.

“The production of aluminium at the ELYSIS Industrial Research and Development Center marks the achievement of a significant milestone, using a full industrial design at a size comparable to small smelting cells operating in the industry today,” ELYSIS said.

Furthermore, ELYSIS aims to scale up the technology in 2023 before installation in 2024 and eventual carbon-free aluminum production in 2026.

U.S. trade deficit hits $80.9B in September

The U.S. trade deficit reached $80.9 billion in September, up by 11.2% from the previous month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.

Read more

As we predicted last month, the U.S. and E.U. have used the recent G20 summit in Rome to announce an end to hostilities over the steel and aluminum Section 232 tariffs imposed by the previous Trump administration and perpetuated by President Joe Biden.

“We have agreed with the US to pause our steel and aluminium trade dispute and launch cooperation on a Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminium,” Valdis Dombrovskis, EU trade commissioner, tweeted Saturday.

E.U. and U.S. flags

cunaplus/Adobe Stock

The intriguing issue is not the resolution of the tariffs, to be replaced by a quota system. The second part of the sentence — “cooperating on a global arrangement on sustainable steel and aluminum” — is the interesting part.

Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted steel price. It’s more important to spot the trend

US-EU work out details on tariff quota system

The negotiations have come up with a “kill two birds with one stone” solution to a dispute that was doing neither side any good. Indeed, the retaliatory measures promised to cause even more harm from next month if the sides did not reach a solution.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, told reporters the deal removed “one of the largest bilateral irritants in the US-EU relationship” according to the Financial Times.

The tariffs will be replaced by a quota system, probably adjusted annually. The exact details of the arrangement are still to be worked out.

But as the U.S. only bought 3.2 million tons of steel from Europe pre-pandemic as a percentage of the total market, European supply has always been a fraction.

Read more

This morning in metals news: the U.S. and E.U. have struck a deal that will see to the former resuming imports of duty-free steel and aluminum from the E.U.; battery storage applications have shifted, the Energy Information Administration explained; and, lastly, compensation costs increased during Q3 2021.

Want an occasional email from MetalMiner that highlights new content with NO sales ploys? Join that list here.

US, EU reach deal on Section 232 tariffs

tariffs text on top of US currency

zimmytws/AdobeStock

In a move toward deescalating transatlantic trade tensions that have simmered since the Trump administration imposed Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs in 2018, the Biden administration announced a deal over the weekend that will see to the U.S. once again importing duty-free European steel and aluminum.

In March 2018, former President Donald Trump used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, citing national security concerns. Canada, Mexico and the E.U. initially had exemptions to the tariffs. However, those exemptions eventually expired.

As a result, tensions between the U.S. and E.U. grew, as the latter imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

On Saturday, however, the parties announced a step toward trade deescalation.

“The agreements announced today delivers on President Biden’s vision to repair relationships with our European partners while also helping to ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, the communities they support, and most importantly, the workers in these industries on both sides of the Atlantic,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said. “In addition to the EU eliminating the retaliatory tariffs against the United States, we have agreed to suspend the WTO disputes against each other related to the 232 disputes.

“With this dispute behind us, we are in a stronger position to address global overcapacity from China with an enhanced enforcement mechanism to prevent leakage of Chinese steel and aluminum into the U.S. market. And the deal is a significant win on one of President Biden’s top priorities – fighting climate change.”

The U.S. will resume importing duty-free free aluminum and steel from the E.U. “in line with historical trade flows.”

Changing battery storage applications

Battery storage applications have shifted, the Energy Information Administration reported today.

For example, utility-scale battery storage for frequency regulation accounted for 59% of total battery capacity reporting this use.

“Frequency response is a service that maintains grid frequency as close to 60 hertz (Hz) as reasonably possible,” the EIA said. “Deviations below 60 Hz can lead to protective generator trips that result in a subsequent decline in system stability. Batteries are particularly well suited for frequency regulation because their output does not require any startup time and batteries can quickly absorb surges.”

Compensation costs rise

Compensation costs during the quarter ending in September rose by 1.3%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Wages and salaries increased by 1.5% from June 2021. Meanwhile, benefit costs increased by 0.9%.

More MetalMiner is available on LinkedIn.

1 2 3 252