Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including coverage of: copper prices and the coronavirus’ impact; European steel consumption; Jingye’s British Steel takeover bid; U.S. steel production; automotive sales and more.
The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat this month for a February MMI reading of 20.
U.S. mining production rises in 2019
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the estimated value of nonfuel mineral mining production reached $86.3 billion, up 3% from 2018’s revised total of $84.0 billion.
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 coverage of: aluminum production and prices; Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel derivatives; the coronavirus’ potential impact on iron ore; General Motors’ electrification drive; and the arrival of Brexit.
This morning in metals news: the U.S. international trade deficit in goods increased in December compared with the previous month; U.S. steel prices have continued to increase; and imports of reinforcing bars from Turkey and Algeria skyrocketed in late 2019, according to Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data.
U.S. international trade in goods deficit rises in December
U.S. international trade in goods came in at a deficit of $68.3 billion in December, up 8.5% from November, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
U.S. steel imports through the first 11 months of 2019 were down 17% compared with the same period in 2018, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.
Imports through the first 11 months of 2019 reached 23.9 millions tons, down from 28.9 million tons from January-November 2018.
Late Friday, the Trump administration announced it would raise the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs, originally imposed in 2018, on imports of steel and aluminum derivatives.
“The Secretary has informed me that domestic steel producers’ capacity utilization has not stabilized for an extended period of time at or above the 80 percent capacity utilization level identified in his report as necessary to remove the threatened impairment of the national security,” President Donald Trump said in a White House statement Friday. “Stabilizing at that level is important to provide the industry with a reasonable expectation that market conditions will prevail long enough to justify the investment necessary to ramp up production to a sustainable and profitable level.”
This morning in metals news, copper prices have been sliding amid growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus in China, laminated steel manufactured by Tata Steel in the Netherlands has been exempted from U.S. tariffs and China’s Jingye is reportedly considering building a new metals recycling furnace in the U.K.
Copper prices slide
Copper prices dropped for a ninth consecutive session Monday as fears mount over the spread of the coronavirus in China, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued affirmative final determinations in its anti-dumping and countervailing subsidy investigations of fabricated structural steel imports from China, Canada and Mexico.
The DOC issued final determinations in its anti-dumping probe for China, Canada and Mexico, while issuing affirmative determinations in its parallel countervailing duty probe for China and Mexico (the DOC issued a negative determination in the countervailing duty probe for Canada).
The Indian solar energy story marked a new milestone after India topped the Asia Pacific Region (APAC) for solar photovoltaic (PV) tenders in December 2019.
According to analytics company GlobalData, with 49% tenders announced and a 75.4% share, India was No. 1 among all other countries in the region, followed by the Philippines (with six tenders and a 9.2% share) and Pakistan (with five tenders and a 7.7% share), according to a Saur Energy International report.
Tariffs imposed under the Trump administration on steel and aluminum in 2018 represented a major shift in trade between the U.S. and the rest of the world, with impacts on imports and exports of metal at the forefront.
Meanwhile, although the U.S. and China recently reached a Phase One trade deal that saw the U.S. not go forward with a planned additional $160 billion in tariffs, tariffs on approximately $370 billion in Chinese goods remain in place.
The National Bureau of Economic Research recently released a report detailing the effects of recent U.S. tariffs. The report, “Who’s Paying for the US Tariffs? A Longer-Term Perspective,” is authored by Federal Reserve Bank of New York researcher Mary Amiti and professors David Weinstein of Columbia University and Stephen Redding of Princeton University.