Articles in Category: Global Trade

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This morning in metals news, Chinese iron ore has hit a 4 1/2-month low, the zinc price fell for a fourth straight session and tariff waiver requests have been granted for a great number of metals from China.

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Chinese Iron Ore Continues Fall

Prices of Chinese iron ore fell to a 4 1/2 month low, according to the Hellenic Shipping News.

Trade tensions have weighed on the Chinese economy this year, with steel prices taking a tumble, even while Chinese steel production has not let up (in fact, China’s crude steel production jumped 9.7% year over year in October, according to a recent World Steel Association report).

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to attend this week’s G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, where they are expected to talk trade. The tariff rate on the U.S.’s $200 billion tariff package is set to jump from 10% to 25% at the start of the new year, barring an agreement that would preclude the hike.

Zinc Price Falls Again

The price of London zinc dropped for a fourth straight sessions Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

LME zinc dropped 0.3% Tuesday, according to the report, down to $2,428.50 per ton.

Tariff Waivers and Chinese Metals

According to a report by The New York Times that cites a congressional analysis, the Trump administration has granted more than 3,000 tariff waivers that could exempt Chinese-made metals.

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In fact, according to the report, the U.S. has granted waivers with respect to a higher share of requests from China than from Japan and Canada.

MetalMiner’s Take: Clearly, the process for obtaining tariff exemptions remains opaque and, in some cases, irrational.

We have seen specific instances, such as with grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) requests, that disputes often occur within some very gray areas that require a deep subject matter expert to vet and ascertain.

The simple “if nobody opposed the exclusion request” rule of thumb is faulty, particularly in the case of Mandel Metals, where the amount of the request far exceeds the total volumes necessary to run Mandel’s operations. Perhaps the “return of market fundamentals” will help guide the process, as well.

In the case of aluminum, a real common alloy shortage exists. The exclusion request process ought to consider where the U.S. runs market deficits and shortages versus only who, in theory, can produce the particular metal.

The same can not be said for many of the common forms of steel, where ample domestic supply exists to meet demand.

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This morning in metals news, U.S. senators are asking for an independent review of the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariff waiver process, LME copper is down for the third straight day and Chinese steel mills are preparing for difficult times ahead.

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Another Look

The review of Section 232 tariff exemption requests from domestic companies has been going on since June, and the process has come in for much criticism.

According to a Bloomberg report, a bipartisan group of senators have asked for an independent review of the tariff waiver process, noting that as of last month only about one-third of the approximately 50,000 requests had been addressed.

LME Copper Down Again

London copper has been on the slide of late, dropping Tuesday for the third straight day, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the drop comes after comments by President Donald Trump to the Wall Street Journal related to China. The president said it was unlikely the U.S. would agree to China’s request to delay the scheduled Jan. 1 tariff rate increase — up to 25% from 10% — on the previously announced $200 billion tariff package.

Chinese Steel Mills Hit a Rough Patch

According to another Reuters report, Chinese steel producers posted losses for the first time in three years.

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Per the report, as a result of falling prices, some mills are looking to utilize more low-grade iron ore in the steelmaking process in an effort to tamp down costs.

MetalMiner’s Take: In markets in which profit margins erode, simple supply and demand fundamentals ought to take hold — producers ought to limit supply to boost profits.

In the U.S., producers did exactly that for years and years, operating at below 80% utilization rates (U.S. producers have only recently hit those production rates as a result of the tariffs, the bullish commodity market and a booming economy).

When Chinese producers start to run losses, those producers ought to take a lesson from their American peers — and limit production to shore up profits.

But Chinese steel producers won’t do that. In fact, they will do the opposite — continue to produce, even at a loss, to keep people employed.

And once again, that excess steel will flow to the rest of the world.

Too much steel always has and always will put a lid on prices. Therefore, steel-buying organizations will want to watch very closely how much steel China produces, as well as the price per ton, as Chinese steel production and steel prices lead the U.S. market.

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The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released an update on its Section 301 investigation into China last week, an update — titled “Update Concerning China’s Acts, Policies and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, And Innovation” — which followed the same theme as previous reports.

That theme? China has made some small changes to the U.S.’s liking, but not nearly enough to address U.S. concerns regarding intellectual property theft and investment restrictions, the USTR report explains.

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“We completed this update as part of this Administration’s strengthened monitoring and enforcement effort,” USTR Robert Lighthizer said in a prepared statement. “This update shows that China has not fundamentally altered its unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices that were the subject of the March 2018 report on our Section 301 investigation.”

The USTR launched the Section 301 probe in August 2017 “to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.” In March, the USTR released an update titled “Findings of the Investigation into China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.”

Using Section 301, the U.S. has already slapped a total of $250 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, with President Donald Trump also having threatened to impose an addition $257 billion.

The USTR update cites a rise in China’s cyber-enabled theft of U.S. intellectual property, unfair technology transfer rules and discriminatory licensing restrictions, among other points, as evidence that China has not changed its practices. In meetings with Chinese trade officials throughout the year, the Chinese side has failed to adequately address U.S. concerns vis-a-vis the aforementioned issues, the USTR report claims.

“Despite repeated U.S. engagement efforts and international admonishments of its trade technology transfer policies, China did not respond constructively and failed to take any substantive actions to address U.S. concerns,” the report states. “As a result of China’s ongoing failure to respond constructively to U.S. concerns, USTR imposed tariffs on July 6, 2018 and August 23, 2018 on approximately $50 billion of Chinese imports as part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

“The United States also requested dispute settlement consultations with China in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on March 23, 2018 concerning certain measures pertaining to the licensing of intellectual property rights, and the United States is now pursuing dispute settlement before the WTO on those issues.”

The USTR update went on to add that a 71-page white paper published by the Information Office of China’s State Council in September, which referred to the Section 301 probe as an example of “trade bullyism,” as further evidence of China’s unwillingness to address U.S. concerns (while also noting China’s counter-tariffs in response to the U.S.’s Section 301 tariffs.

“These actions demonstrated that USTR’s initial tariff action was no longer appropriate to obtain the elimination of China’s unfair trade acts, policies, and practices. In addition, the burden or restriction on United States commerce of these acts, policies, and practices continues to increase, including following the one-year investigation period,” the report states. “Accordingly, under direction of the President, USTR imposed additional tariffs on approximately $200 billion of imports from China on September 24, 2018.”

In terms of foreign investment restrictions, the USTR report claims China has made only “incremental” improvements.

“Using foreign ownership restrictions, including in connection with its administrative review and licensing processes, China continues to pressure technology transfer from foreign companies in numerous ways,” the report states. “For example, a September 2018 report by the Wall Street Journal provides case-specific examples of Chinese actions to obtain technology from five major U.S. companies: DuPont, General Electric, Advanced Micro Devices, Huntsman Corp, and Micron Technologies. Several of these companies faced coercive pressure from Chinese officials.”

In terms of outbound investment, the report notes China’s venture capital (VC) investment in the U.S. has served as a mechanism for technology transfer. Per the report, China’s VC investment in the U.S. from January-May 2018 hit $2.4 billion, matching the full-year high set in 2015.

“As this data makes clear, Chinese VC investors are increasingly active in the U.S. VC ecosystem,” the report states. “Analysts estimate that Chinese investors participated in 10-16% of all venture deals in the United States between 2015 and 2017.265 According to Bloomberg data, Chinese VC investors have participated in 151 deals through November 15, 2018, which roughly matches the pace set in 2017 when Chinese investors participated in an all-time high of 167 deals.”

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The full Section 301 report update can be found here.

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A move to hammer out a new trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other associated free trade agreement (FTA) countries has left India’s steel, manufacturing and other industries somewhat jittery.

The country’s steel sector has been working overtime trying to make the Narendra Modi-led government understand its concerns, pointing to the loopholes in existing FTAs with Korea and Japan, as a case in point.

This lobby feels that although these FTAs were meant to promote bilateral trade, they were heavily skewed in favor of the other country. That’s exactly what this lobby feels will happen under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

For now, the signing of the RCEP has been deferred until early 2019. The new trade agreement, once signed, will cater to almost half of the world’s population, and will impact steel, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, food processing, agriculture, and food security, just to name a few things.

Signatories will include the 10 ASEAN member countries, plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. Needless to say, the RCEP is being closely monitored by the U.S. and other global trade lobbies.

At the end of the first round of meetings, a joint statement issued said negotiations on goods and services market access, and on investment reservation lists had “advanced significantly” with all RCEP participating countries (RPCs) engaged in a series of bilateral and plurilateral negotiations throughout the year.

“There has been a genuine effort by RPCs to progress market access negotiations while recognizing that different RPCs have different sensitivities toward each other,” the statement reads.

It added the participating countries were within reach of concluding market access negotiations to meet the goals in the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the RCEP, but some work was needed to close the remaining gaps.

Steel giants such as Jindal Stainless have already made their apprehensions known. Abhyuday Jindal, managing director of Jindal Stainless, is nervous that India could agree to zero tariffs on steel import. And who will benefit from it? China, of course, he says, once again flooding Indian markets with cheap steel.

“Inclusion of stainless steel products in RCEP will result in a huge surge in imports from China,” Jindal said in a company release on the RCEP developments. “This will make operations for domestic producers non-viable, thereby resulting in long-term losses. This may result in immediate shut down of small scale units and will simultaneously cascade into the organised sector. Significant investments made by domestic industry in capacity building worth Rs 35,000 crore would stand in jeopardy. Once operational, RCEP will turn India into a nation of traders alone, defeating the visionary ‘Make in India’ concept.”

Hectic consultations were on for some time between the various trade bodies, and then inter-ministerial talks between the Indian Commerce Ministry, and the Heavy Industry, Textiles and Steel Ministries. The latter are trying to have the Commerce Ministry exclude certain products from the tariff elimination list under the RCEP.

The deferment may have given Modi some space, especially going into an election year as it is. The RCEP, if it happens, is being seen in Indian trade and media circles in direct contrast to Modi’s “Make In India” program.

The past year’s developments in global trade have offered a stiff test to the international trading order and, more specifically, the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Amid a surge in protectionist measures, the WTO has come under pressure. U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the system on several occasions, even threatening to pull the U.S. out from the WTO if it did not “shape up.”

The fulcrum of the trade angst has been U.S.-China relations, as the U.S. has imposed a total of $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports so far this year. China has responded with retaliatory tariffs, matching the initial $50 billion tariff package and then responding with $60 billion in tariffs when the U.S. slapped an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

During a briefing Friday, Trump reiterated his stance that China has “taken advantage of the U.S. for many, many years.” He added that, with respect to the previously mentioned additional $257 billion in potential tariffs — which would essentially subject all Chinese products coming into the U.S. to duties — the U.S. may not have go to that route.

“China would like to make a deal,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, also on Friday, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo spoke at a Paris conference titled “A WTO Fit for the 21st Century: What Needs to Change,” outlining ways in which the organization must adapt for such turbulence on the global trading scene.

Referring to ceremonies held Nov. 11 in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Azevêdo referred to the international bodies’ origins in the aftermath of that conflict.

“The multilateral trading system, like other international bodies, was born out of the conflicts of the early 20th century, with the aim of making this vision a reality,” he said. “It was created to advance the cause of co-operation between nations, to preserve peace and stability, and thereby to support growth, jobs and development – the essential conditions for economic wellbeing. This mission is just as important today as it was back then. Co-operation, under shared rules, through the multilateral system, remains the best way of delivering it.”

He added the WTO system covers approximately 98% of global trade, and that the “trading system may not be perfect, but it is essential and it has proved very effective.”

Nonetheless, while pointing out the WTO’s successes, he acknowledged the need for change, particularly vis-a-vis the rise in tariffs over the past year.

“Our economists have been assessing a variety of possible scenarios to develop this picture, including the impact of a full, global trade war,” Azevêdo said. “By this we mean a breakdown in international trade cooperation, where instead of tariffs being set cooperatively in the WTO, they are set unilaterally. Under this more mercantilist, nationalist mindset, tariffs would rise sharply. We would see a reduction of global trade by around 17%.”

World leaders, including Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, will soon gather in Buenos Aires at the end of the month for the G20 Summit, a crucial moment for dialogue between the U.S. and China. The rate for the $200 billion tariff package implemented by the U.S. is set to jump from 10% to 25% at the end of the year unless a deal precluding the hike is reached.

“WTO reform has been raised with me in my interactions with a variety of leaders – including President Macron,”Azevêdo said of the French president. “And no doubt it will be a key issue when we meet at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in two weeks’ time. That meeting will be an important moment.”

He also listed a number of initiatives and objectives that have been suggested by various WTO members, which included:

  • resolving disputes and reaching agreements more rapidly and effectively
  • addressing a variety of trade distorting practices that are either not covered or are just partially covered by existing disciplines
  • avoiding protectionism and unilateral actions
  • advancing current work
  • and improving notifications and transparency

However, challenges faced by the WTO’s dispute settlement system present the most urgent issue, he said.

“The specific issue here is the impasse in appointments to the Appellate Body,” he said. “This could eventually threaten the functioning of the whole dispute settlement system as we know it. There are some signs that members are engaging more deeply here. And proposals are being brought forward. But we need to see a major shift in gears and positions if we are to make progress.”

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According to the WTO release, at the Paris conference Azevêdo held bilateral meetings with France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire; Minister of State, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne; and E.U. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

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This morning in metals news, Tokyo Steel plans to raise plate prices, Rio Tinto says new aluminum capacity is needed outside of China and copper prices tick upward.

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Plate Prices Rise

Tokyo Steel plans to raise heavy plate prices by 2.5% in December, according to a Reuters report. The steelmaker had not raised heavy plate prices since January, the report noted.

MetalMiner’s Take: Plate prices have always had their own price dynamics separate from the other forms of flat rolled steel (such as HRC and CRC).

Plate prices in the U.S. have remained fairly well-supported compared to the other forms of steel, so it should come as no surprise that in markets with strong construction demand, like Japan, mills would announce price increases.

Interestingly, Chinese plate prices have started to slip, but those dynamics could change based on environmental curbs, whether the Japanese plate price increases stick and Chinese demand.

U.S. metal-buying organizations will want to pay close attention to these price dynamics in Japan and China.

Aluminum Capacity

Rio Tinto Group says the world needs new aluminum capacity outside of China in the coming years, Bloomberg reported.

Copper Price Rises

Prices of LME and SHFE copper increased Monday, Reuters reported, on the heels of positive sentiment stemming from comments made by President Donald Trump regarding tariffs on China.

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During a press briefing Monday, Trump said the U.S. might not need to impose further tariffs on China, the world’s top copper consumer.

Industry groups testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) late last week on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and its potential impact on the U.S. economy and industry sectors.

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The Aluminum Association was one of the groups to comment, particularly focusing on the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Despite the three countries reaching a deal on USMCA — which is set to serve as the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if ultimately finalized — the U.S. metals tariffs remain in effect for Canada and Mexico.

During her testimony, Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock renewed the industry group’s call for quota-free tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico.

“Limiting access for U.S. aluminum producers to reach their suppliers and customers – and in some cases, their own subsidiaries and facilities – in Canada and Mexico, as we see with the Section 232 tariffs today, will hamper continued growth and investment for our industry here at home,” Brock said. “This is why we continue to call for quota-free exemptions from these tariffs for our USMCA partners. The U.S. aluminum industry faces an acute and persistent issue of illegally subsidized Chinese aluminum overcapacity in the market, but tariff or quota actions against countries like Canada and Mexico that operate as market economies do not address the China challenge and instead harm the overall competitiveness of the region.”

Brock concluded the USMCA cannot work without removal of the tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

“From the beginning, we have supported a modernized North American trade agreement, and USMCA achieves that in important ways,” she said. “However, we urge the president to resolve the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports for our neighbors to ensure free movement of aluminum and aluminum products within North America. The new agreement simply cannot work as intended for the aluminum industry and our customers with those tariffs – or quotas to limit access to supply – in place. Full, quota-free exemptions for Canada and Mexico from aluminum tariffs as part of this agreement will benefit the U.S. aluminum industry and the hundreds of thousands of American workers who depend on its success.”

Almost two weeks after the USMCA was announced, the USITC announced Oct. 12 that it would investigate the potential impacts of the deal. The investigation came at the request of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Kevin Dempsey, the senior vice president for public policy and general counsel for the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), also testified at the hearing.

Dempsey said the U.S. steel industry views NAFTA as a “successful agreement,” but one that should be modernized and strengthened. He went on to list provisions of USMCA that he said would benefit the steel industry, including a strengthened rules of origin benchmark and provisions promoting “increased cooperation and information sharing between the three North American governments to address circumvention and evasion of trade remedy orders.”

As we noted Friday, it remains to be seen what impact, if any, the new Democrat-majority House of Representatives will have on implementation of the USMCA.

Some Democrats have expressed concerns about the deal, including New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, the leading Democrat on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

“As claims start to be made about the miracles that the new NAFTA will bring, we are relying on you, this commission, the International Trade Commission, to tell it like it really is,” Pascrell said in his opening remarks during the USITC hearing last Thursday.

Pascrell said he is reviewing the text of the USMCA and plans to use the USITC’s analysis, among other analyses, to inform his views on the agreement.

“There are certainly some improvements in the USMCA over the previous NAFTA, but the jury is still out as to whether this deal meets my standard for a better deal for American workers,” Pascrell said. “The Commission’s report on the potential economic impact of the USMCA is a critical component in assessing the merits or flaws of the new deal. Any new deal will not be a success unless it eliminates the incentives for outsourcing in the original NAFTA and boosts jobs and wages in a meaningful way in the United States.

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“For these reasons, we need a comprehensive and meaningful ITC report to determine whether all of the Administration’s rhetoric around transforming and rebalancing U.S. trade policy will actually carry the day.”

The full text of the USMCA is available on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s website.

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Yesterday, we noted a recent Aluminum Association letter, in which the industry group claimed the Department of Commerce’s Section 232 tariff exclusion request undermined the domestic aluminum industry.

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On Tuesday, the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU) also weighed in with its thoughts on the process.

Beginning in June, the DOC began receiving requests for exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs, as U.S. companies argued that the type of steel or aluminum product they needed is not made in the U.S. in the appropriate quantity or quality they need.

The sheer volume of requests seems to have taken the DOC by surprise. As MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns recently noted, by Oct. 29 the DOC had issued decisions in only about one-third of the nearly 50,000 total requests.

“Ideally, the Department would eliminate the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as it is clear that the utilization rates for domestic producers now exceed the goals set forth when these tariffs were implemented by the President,” the CAMMU release says. “As long as the tariffs remain, it is essential that exclusion requests are processed in a fair, transparent, and expeditious manner.”

In its letter, addressed to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, CAMMU explains that while the changes introduced to the tariff exclusion process in September were a nice start, further improvements are needed.

CAMMU specifically calls out statements from metals producers in formal objections that do not meet the “available immediately” threshold, defined as being able to supply within eight weeks.

“Objections to exclusion requests available on the Regulations.gov website reveal numerous vague assertions that clearly could not meet the ‘available immediately’ threshold set forth by the Department,” CAMMU argued. “The Department should reject these objections outright. For example, steel and aluminum producers regularly disregard the process for quality and testing that steel‐ and aluminum‐using manufacturers must go through with their customers prior to acceptance of products.”

In addition, CAMMU opined that the typical timeline for the resolution of a tariff exclusion request is too long, particularly given the just-in-time nature of some manufacturing. In the letter, CAMMU said the DOC should accept exemption requests in cases for which it receives no objections (or if it receives an incomplete objection).

CAMMU said the timeline manufacturers face vis-a-vis the exemption request process is too slow:

We also believe the stated 106 day timeline from date of posting does not fully reflect the delays faced by requesters. According to available data, American manufacturers must wait on average nearly 23 days, and almost 17 days for aluminum exclusion requests, before the Department posts their steel exclusion requests on regulations.gov. In the best of circumstances, this means that the average U.S. manufacturer must wait more than four months for the federal government to determine whether its most important input is subject to a 25% or 10% tax. No manufacturer can afford to lose one‐third of the entire calendar year waiting for a response made in a system that places greater weight to the objections raised than to the facts presented by actual purchasers of the raw materials.

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CAMMU’s full letter is available here.

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This morning in metals news, the nickel price has plunged to its lowest level in 11 months, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with President Donald Trump over the weekend regarding the U.S.’s steel and aluminum tariffs, and two train derailments appear to have had little impact on Australia’s iron ore sector.

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Nickel Falls to 11-Month Low

The nickel price dropped to an 11-month low Monday, Reuters reported, based on worries of slowing Chinese steel demand.

LME nickel fell 1%, while the most-traded Shanghai nickel contract fell 2.4%, according to the report.

MetalMiner’s Take: While nickel falls to an 11-month low, the MetalMiner analyst team has a close eye on several key metals market price drivers.

Oil prices have begun to drop but remain above the $58/barrel level, which serves as the long-term bear/bull threshold. As oil prices currently remain above that level, the long-term trend remains bullish.

The other key price driver to watch is the U.S. dollar, which has increased. However, it remains below the key resistance level MetalMiner has set as the level at which the markets turn from bullish to bearish.

MetalMiner readers will note the dollar and commodities trade inversely, so a higher dollar results in lower commodity prices.

Metal-buying organizations will want to pay careful attention now to oil prices, the U.S. dollar and China demand. A change in any two of these three could signal a market shift.

Trudeau, Trump Talk Tariffs

As world leaders gathered in France this weekend for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump exchanged words over the weekend regarding the U.S.’s steel and aluminum tariffs, Reuters reported.

Canada’s temporary exemption to the U.S.’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs expired June 1.

According to the report, Trudeau said he hoped to reach a resolution on the issue before this year’s G20 Summit, which kicks off Nov. 30 in Buenos Aires.

Australian Iron Ore

A pair of recent train derailments have had minimal impact on Australia’s substantial iron ore sector, according to a Bloomberg report.

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According to the report, iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1% Monday.

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This morning in metals news, the copper price has slipped to a one-week low, builders in British Columbia are asking the Canadian government to loosen limits on steel imports and U.S. tariffs contributed to a Pittsburgh steelmaker’s down third quarter.

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LME Copper Price Falls

The price of London copper dropped to its lowest level in a week, Reuters reported.

MetalMiner’s Take: LME copper prices have decreased this week, but are still over the $6,000 ceiling. The base metal is also influenced by a stronger U.S. dollar and weaker Chinese sentiment.

However, copper demand seems to be strong and supply is tightening. We could see copper increasing again in the upcoming month.

B.C. Builders Seek Steel Relief

Builders in British Columbia sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau asking that 100,000 tons of rebar be exempted from steel tariffs and quotas announced in October, Reuters reported.

The Canadian government announced the steel safeguards last month.

Pittsburgh Steelmaker Says Tariffs a Factor in Down 3Q

Pittsburgh steelmaker Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. reported a $7 million third-quarter loss, which its executives indicated was partially attributable to U.S. tariffs on steel, the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reported.

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The company had purchased a plant in Ontario two years ago, according to the report.

MetalMiner’s Take: Steel tariffs, as MetalMiner has stated many times, have certainly supported higher prices — but they have not provided all of the lift.

A booming economy and the commodity bull market have also created challenges for buying organizations. Companies heavily reliant on non-U.S. sources have more exposure than those who are able to source domestically or regionally. Though MetalMiner has not conducted a formal analysis, most companies have passed on price increases as a way to mitigate some of the impacts of higher steel prices.