Articles in Category: Imports

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%.

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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.

steel plate

Source: Nucor

This morning in metals news: Nucor began work Friday on its new Kentucky steel plate plant; several members of Congress wrote to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross asking the Trump administration not to impose Section 232 tariffs on electrical steel; and BHP released its quarterly operational review.

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.

Nucor begins work on Kentucky steel plate plant

Nucor began work Friday on its new Kentucky steel plate plant, WDRB reported.

The $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing plant will be in Brandenburg, Kentucky. The plant is scheduled to open in 2022.

Members of Congress on electrical steel tariffs

Several members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to express opposition to Section 232 tariffs on electrical steel imports, a release by the Core Coalition noted.

“The prosperity of this country depends on the reliable supply of low-cost electricity to business and consumers throughout the United States,” the letter reads. “The outcome of this investigation threatens to undermine that supply.”

BHP releases operation review for quarter ending in September

Miner BHP released its quarterly 2020 operational review, reporting copper output of 413 kt, flat compared with the previous quarter. In addition, copper output at the Escondida mine reached 285 kt, down 3% from the previous quarter.

Furthermore, iron ore output totaled 66 million tonnes, down 1% from the previous quarter.

Nicket output reached 22 kt, down 7% from the previous quarter.

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Aluminum production

Alexander Chudaev/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the International Aluminum Institute released global aluminum production totals for September; the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) made duty determinations in the investigations related to imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand; and September unemployment rates fell in 30 states.

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.

Global aluminum production hits 5.42M tons in September

Global aluminum production reached 5.42 million tons in September, the International Aluminum Institute reported.

The total marked a decline from 5.52 million tons in August.

Chinese production totaled an estimated 3.15 million tons last month, down from 3.18 million tons the previous month.

USITC opts to maintain steel wire strand duties

In a five-year sunset review, the USITC voted to maintain existing duties covering imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand.

The duties cover imports of the products from Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Thailand.

“The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that revoking the existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand from Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time,” the USITC said in a prepared statement.

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nickel

leszekglasner/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 nickel market; aluminum prices on the SHFE and LME; China’s metals rebound; and much more.

Sign up today for Gunpowder, MetalMiner’s free, biweekly e-newsletter featuring news, analysis and more.

Week in Review, Oct. 12-16 (nickel market, China’s metals rebound and more)

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.

India

Zerophoto/Adobe Stock

Some Indian experts are of the view that the U.S.’s newly imposed import tariff on aluminum sheet products, including on Indian aluminum sheet, will not affect Indian aluminum producers in a major way.

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U.S. slaps anti-dumping duty on Indian aluminum sheet, sheet from 17 other countries

Last Friday, the U.S. imposed fresh tariffs on U.S. $1.96 billion worth of aluminum sheet products from 18 countries, including India.

The U.S. imposed the duty after determining the goods were being dumped, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“The Department’s aluminum sheet investigations constitute the broadest U.S. trade enforcement action in two decades,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We look forward to receiving parties’ comments on the preliminary determinations that aluminum sheet imports from 18 countries have been dumped, and in some cases unfairly subsidized, into the U.S. market.”

Ross added tariffs were being immediately imposed even though the department’s reading was the dumping was preliminary.

“As a result of these decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of common alloy aluminum sheet from the above-named countries based on the preliminary rates noted above,” the Department of Commerce said in a release announcing the preliminary determination.

In addition to India, the other countries on the list are: Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey.

The U.S. petitioners in the investigation are the Aluminum Association Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet Trade Enforcement Working Group and its individual members.

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