This morning in metals news, the U.S. steel capacity utilization rate reached 80.7% for the year through March 28, steel industry workers in the Great Lakes region tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and copper clawed back some gains Tuesday.
The usually highly liquid gold market hit turbulence last week as transport restrictions prevented contract settlement procedures at New York’s COMEX futures market.
The Financial Times reported the price of gold futures traded on COMEX and expiring this month widened to a $70-per-ounce premium above the London physical gold market Tuesday. The spread marked the highest on record, prompted by fears the physical 100-ounce gold bars traded on the exchange would not be available as retail demand surged.
This morning in metals news, industrial profits in China plummeted over the first two months of the year amid the coronavirus outbreak, Rio Tinto released an update on its operations during the outbreak and copper prices are down 15% over the last month.
The coronavirus pandemic has made its mark on supply chains, leaving some companies looking for relief.
For some, that means petitioning for tariff relief, particularly from President Donald Trump’s Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.
Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including coverage of: U.S. housing starts; aluminum mills taking steps to make their operations more green; iron ore prices; and the European steel sector.
This morning in metals news, U.S. Steel announced a number of measures in response to the coronavirus crisis and falling oil price, concerns have been raised regarding cleaning procedures at a Michigan steel mill, and Republican senators have asked President Donald Trump to roll back trade barriers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Europe’s steelmakers are cutting production and idling factory lines as an industry already buckling under a severe market downturn girds itself for the economic fallout from coronavirus, the Financial Times reports.
Companies such as Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel have taken action because of falling orders, a lack of available personnel or as a safety precaution against infections, while market leader ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, has reduced output at most of its plants on the continent.
Global copper mine production dipped last year compared with 2018, according to the most recently monthly data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).
Copper concentrate production declined 0.6% and solvent-extraction electrowinning fell by around 1%, the ICSG reported.
Like in other countries, the outbreak of COVID- 19 and the subsequent lockdown threatens to disrupt India’s steel production.
What’s more, there are reports coming in now that Indian steel companies will face even more competition from rivals in China in this state of crisis, adding to the woes of the former.
This morning in metals news, the U.S. Senate is prepared to vote on a $2 trillion stimulus package Wednesday, U.S. steel imports are down 21% and U.S. Steel is idling its Lorain tubular plant.