Articles in Category: Imports
lithium-ion battery

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: Norsk Hydro has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a potential lithium-ion battery business; U.S. import prices fell slightly in October; and Gulf of Mexico oil production fell in August by the largest amount since 2008.

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Norsk Hydro signs MOU to explore potential lithium-ion battery business

Norsk Hydro, Panasonic and Equinor have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the potential for a lithium-ion battery business based in Norway.

“The companies will work together towards summer 2021 to assess the market for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and mature the business case for a green battery business located in Norway,” Norsk Hydro said in a release. “The companies intend that this initiative is based on Panasonic’s leading technology and targets the European market for electric vehicles and other applications.”

U.S. import prices fall in October

Meanwhile, U.S. import prices fell 0.1% in October after gaining 0.2% in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

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aluminum ingot stacked for export

Olegs/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the Senate Committee on Appropriations allocated funding for a new Aluminum Import Monitoring system; the United States International Trade Commission voted to continue an aluminum foil investigation; and natural gas inventories are at a record high.

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

Senate includes funding for Aluminum Import Monitoring system

The domestic aluminum industry has long advocated for the creation of an aluminum import monitoring system. The Aluminum Association has often referred to the existing Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis system as a potential model.

Recently, the Senate Committee on Appropriations included $1.3 million in funding for a new aluminum import monitoring system during the fiscal year 2021.

“We are grateful for the committee’s leadership on this high priority issue for the U.S. aluminum industry, and we look forward to Congress taking action soon to enact this important provision in FY21 appropriations,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, in a release.

“Within Enforcement and Compliance, the Committee provides up to $1,300,000 for staffing and other necessary expenses to support development and implementation of the AIM system,” the Senate Committee on Appropriations said. “The Committee also encourages ITA to regularly consult with the aluminum industry on market dynamics to ensure the remedy is meeting its stated goal of supporting U.S. aluminum producers.”

USITC continues aluminum foil probe

The USITC voted to continue anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation of aluminum foil from several countries.

The countries in question are Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia and Turkey.

In addition, the Department of Commerce will make preliminary countervailing duty determinations by Dec. 23, 2020. However, for its anti-dumping investigation, it will make preliminary determinations by March 8, 2021.

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gold, silver, copper, oil prices

bradcalkins/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, including the copper price, oil price gains and steel imports:

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

Week of Nov. 9-13 (copper price, oil price gains and more)

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steel imports

nattanan726/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: U.S. steel imports were down by 22.2% year over year through the first 10 months of 2020; German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG is seeking state aid; and the nickel price has bounced back in November after falling during the second half of October.

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U.S. steel imports down 22.2%

U.S. steel imports through the first 10 months of the year totaled 19.3 million net tons, down 22.2% year over year, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

Steel import market share reached an estimated 17% in October, down from the year-to-date share of 18%.

By product, import permits for oil country goods in October rose 126% compared with the September final import total.

Thyssenkrupp looks to government for aid package

Bloomberg reports German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp is in talks with the German government over a potential aid package.

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We wrote last month how China’s rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the country importing semi-finished products for which it previously had been self-reliant or even a net exporter for the last decade.

Some steel products and primary aluminum swung into becoming significant net inflows for the economy during the summer months.

But as we cautioned at the time, this was only expected to be a temporary phenomenon.

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China’s steel flows recalibrate

Sure enough, although volumes are still down on this time last year, exports have picked up and imports have fallen.

In a recent post, Argus Media reported China’s steel exports in October rose by 5.2% from September to 4.04 million tons. Chinese mills shifted supplies to overseas markets, enabled — or forced, depending on your point of view — by falling domestic prices.

Summertime exports rose as domestic prices fell

Falling domestic prices in the summer aided Chinese steel mills’ ability to export so aggressively.

Domestic inventory levels rose and domestic crude steel production hit record levels of 3.09 million tons a day in September, in large part to meet domestic demand. Weakness in domestic steel prices suggests overoptimism by the steel mills, inevitably resulting in excess production leaking into export markets looking for a home.

Domestic Chinese steel prices have recovered since the summer as global steel prices have risen and imports have fallen.

As the global recovery has lifted demand and prices, mills in India and elsewhere have not felt the need to distress sell metal into China. In addition, the arbitrage window has narrowed.

Imports have therefore appeared less attractive to Chinese buyers and exports more attractive to mills. That is a trend we expect to continue through Q4.

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Manufacturing worker in China

Unique Vision/Adobe Stock

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 the China Manufacturing PMI, U.S. construction spending and Western European hot-rolled coil transactions:

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Week of Nov. 2-6 (China Manufacturing PMI, construction spending and more)

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steel imports

nattanan726/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the U.S. has seen rising imports of blooms, billets and slabs; the power sector’s coal consumption dropped significantly in the first half of this year; and copper prices trended sideways this week.

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U.S. imports of blooms, billets and slabs rise

U.S. imports of blooms, billets and slabs surged during the July-September 2020 period compared with the October 2019-June 2020 period, per Steel Imports Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system.

Total imports of blooms, billets and slabs jumped 489% to 50,110 tons during the July-September 2020 period.

Meanwhile, imports of blooms, billets and slabs from India jumped 2,954% to 18,333 tons during the July-September 2020 period.

In other SIMA trend data, U.S. imports of steel piling from China jumped 532%. Imports of tin plate from China jumped 448% to 6,152 metric tons.

Coal consumption declines

The U.S. power sector’s coal consumption fell by 30% during the first half of 2020 compared with the first half of 2019, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.

“After setting an annual record of 1,045 MMst in 2007, coal consumption in the electric power sector has been declining,” the EIA said. “This decline is happening as many coal-fired power plants are retiring or are converting to natural gas, driven by tighter air emission standards and the decreased cost-competitiveness of coal relative to other resources.”

Copper trends sideways

As the U.S. awaits the final results of the 2020 presidential election, the copper price has taken a breather.

The copper price closed Wednesday at $6,760 per metric ton after closing last week at $6,706 per metric ton.

However, over a one-month period, the copper price is up 3.69%.

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

nickel

leszekglasner/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the nickel price has gained to start the week; Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. recently released its Q3 results; and, finally, the U.S. imported $19 billion in energy goods from Mexico last year.

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

Nickel price gains

The LME three-month nickel price gained over the first two sessions of the week.

Closing Tuesday at $15,384 per metric ton, the LME three-month nickel price gained $236 per metric ton over the previous 24 hours.

On a month-over-month basis, nickel is up 6.8%.

Reliance releases Q3 results

In its Q3 financial results, Reliance Steel and Aluminum posted pretax income of $127 million, up from $102 million in Q2 2020.

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The Department of Commerce made a preliminary determination in its anti-dumping investigation covering non-refillable steel cylinders imported from China.

The MetalMiner 2021 Annual Outlook consolidates our 12-month view and provides buying organizations with a complete understanding of the fundamental factors driving prices and a detailed forecast that can be used when sourcing metals for 2021 — including expected average prices, support and resistance levels.

DOC rules steel cylinders dumped from China

The DOC determined China dumped the steel products into the U.S. at margins between 57.83% and 114.58%.

The domestic petitioner in the case is Worthington Industries of Columbus, Ohio.

“As a result of today’s decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of non-refillable steel cylinders from China based on the preliminary rates noted above,” the DOC said in a release last week.

Imports of non-refillable steel cylinders reached a value of $21.5 million in 2019, per the DOC.

The U.S. International Trade Commission will make its final determination in the case by Feb. 22, 2021.

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U.S. steel imports dipped 8.3% from August to September, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Monday.

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U.S. steel imports in September

In September 2020, the U.S. imported 1.1 million metric tons on steel products, down from 1.2 million metric tons the previous month.

Meanwhile, for the year to date (through August), the U.S. imported 14.9 million metric tons of steel products, down 20.7% year over year.

During the same period last year, the U.S. imported 18.8 million metric tons.

During the year-to-date period, the largest commodity decrease came for oil country goods, according the Census Bureau.

“Increases occurred primarily in tin free steel, used rails, and light shaped bars,” the Bureau reported. “The largest country decreases occurred with Russia. Increases occurred primarily with Turkey, Brazil, and Mexico.”

Hot-dipped galvanized sheet, strip imports gain

The largest import category, hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip, checked in at 173,010 metric tons in September.

The September figure marked a rise from the 157,503 metric tons imported in August. Furthermore, the U.S. imported 177,943 metric tons in the category in September 2019.

Meanwhile, in the No. 2 category, hot-rolled sheet imports reached 137,497 metric tons in September, up from 97,334 metric tons in August. However, the September 2020 total marked a decline from September 2019’s 151,330 metric tons.

U.S. representatives: no to Section 232 electrical steel tariffs

Finally, U.S. imports of electrical sheet and strip totaled 1,764 metric tons in September — not exactly the largest share of the import total.

Furthermore, the total marked a decline from the 2,758 metric tons imported in August.

Nonetheless, several Congressmen recently sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross asking the Trump administration not to impose Section 232 tariffs on imports of electrical steel.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) sent the letter, which Reps. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Ben Cline (VA-06), Morgan Griffith (VA-09), and Dan Bishop (NC-09) cosigned.

“The manufacturing industry employs millions of Americans, and there is no reason to impose unnecessary tariffs that would put over 15,000 transformer industry jobs at risk,” Riggleman said in a release. “Access to affordable electricity is a pillar of American life and commerce. We must keep American workers at the forefront of progress as the U.S. continues to dominate the global energy sphere.”

Meanwhile, back in May, the Department of Commerce launched a Section 232 investigation into laminations and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators. 

Under Section 232, the secretary of commerce has 270 days from the launch of an investigation to provide a report with findings and recommendations to the president, which sets up for a late January deadline.

Meanwhile, as for domestic options for electrical steel buyers, AK Steel is the only U.S. producer of grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES). ATI exited the U.S. GOES production market in 2016.

Not all contracting indexes are created equal. In a steel price spike scenario, finished product indexes can be detrimental to your strategy. Learn when you should use what kind of contracting mechanisms.

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