Articles in Category: Uncategorized

The fear, so far largely unfounded, at the start of the pandemic outbreak is that it would be bad for developed economies with well-funded health care systems but disastrous for developing economies with immature or underfunded health care systems.

The reality has been much more mixed.

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Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve reported industrial production in March fell 5.4%, marking the largest drop since 1946.

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The coronavirus outbreak and ensuing mitigation efforts have also had a significant impact on the housing sector.

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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: oil prices, Section 232 steel tariffs, the gold market, PMI numbers, steel production and more.

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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: the Federal Reserve’s recent industrial production report, the U.S.’s December boom in housing starts, the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate and the International Monetary Fund’s latest growth projections.

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This morning in metals news, U.S. steel imports fell in August compared with July, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the beginning of an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and Indian mining companies are concerned about the impending expiration of leases for non-captive iron ore mines.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Steel Imports Drop

According to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data, U.S. steel imports reached 1.8 million metric tons in August.

The August steel import level marked a decline from the 2.7 million metric tons imported in July.

Markets React to Impeachment Inquiry News

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday announced her intention to initiate impeachment inquiry regarding President Donald Trump.

As a result, stock markets dipped Tuesday morning, but recovered later in the day.

The CBOE’s volatility index, the VIX, reached a three-week high, ascending to 17.77 early Wednesday before dipping just below 17 later this morning.

Indian Companies Worry Over Mining Leases

According to the Economic Times, concerns abound in India regarding the expiration of 31 non-captive iron mines March 31.

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RK Sharma, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, told the Economic Times that the mines in question account for 45% of the domestic steel industry’s iron ore requirements.

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A new Cold War — does that sound ridiculous? Does it sound alarmist?

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It would have been a month or more back, but today it is a plausible statement.

A post by Edward Luce in the Financial Times refers to a Bloomberg expose reporting on how China’s People’s Liberation Army has installed secret micro-chips on motherboards that were used to operate big corporate data servers, giving them unprecedented access to American military and technology secrets on an epic scale.

The microchips are said to be smaller than a grain of rice and thinner than the tip of a sharpened pencil, yet could provide backdoor access into the most secret of American technology. We quote Luce when we say, according to Bloomberg, China may have infiltrated U.S. military hardware, including drones, fighter jets, and so on.

It must be said, major retail hardware providers like Apple vehemently denied the existence of such malicious chips, but Bloomberg’s investigation has been going on for three years and begs the old saying — no smoke without fire.

The investigation apparently is still ongoing. But the consequences, coming on top of an escalating trade war and recent military skirmishes in the South China Sea, herald a new superpower rivalry.

There may be some who scoff at the suggestion that China could rival the U.S. as a superpower, but that is to misunderstand the trajectory of history.

China is on the rise, faster in terms of technology than it is even economically.

Take these secret microchips. As Luce points out, the creation and clandestine inclusion of such sophisticated technology is so hard to pull off that it was likened by a professional hacker to getting a unicorn to jump over a rainbow. It would take years, the article suggests and the deepest knowledge of how to manipulate the most cutting-edge technology across the global supply chain, for China to do this — yet, it did.

Roughly 75% of U.S. smartphones and 90% of semiconductors are made in China; it is safe to bet that domination is set to decline, but it can’t happen overnight.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

In a heated and politically charged scenario, it is not unrealistic to think government will mandate or reward firms that reshore technologically sensitive supply chains, with profound implications for what has become a hugely interdependent world.

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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®:

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MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

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This morning in metals news, German steel companies are being hit with fines over price rigging, worker contract negotiations are underway at U.S. Steel and the U.S. Senate approved a symbolic measure that served to express frustration over the Legislature’s current lack of say in the process of imposing Section 232 tariffs.

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€205M in Fines Handed Down

According to the Financial Times, German authorities have meted out a total of €205 million in fines to six German steel companies, a steel association and 10 individuals.

The fines come as a result of the exchange of sensitive information and price rigging between 2004 and 2015, according to the report.

Time to Talk

U.S. Steel and the United Steelworkers union began contract negotiations this week, working toward a new labor deal before the current deal’s Sept. 1 expiration, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

The last contract between the union and the steel firm was negotiated in 2015, per the report.

Senates Expresses 232 Frustration

In a non-binding vote Wednesday, the Senate voted 88-11 to direct negotiators to push for giving Congress a role in making decisions vis-a-vis tariffs when national security is a concern; that is, in the application of Section 232, which President Trump has already used twice (with tariffs on steel and aluminum already in effect and potential tariffs on automobiles and automotive components pending).

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has spearheaded the effort to divert some of the institutional power behind Section 232 from the executive (i.e., the president) to the legislative (i.e., Congress).

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

“We have to rein in abuse of presidential authority and restore Congress’ constitutional authority in this regard,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was quoted as saying.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was via some of the metals stories here on MetalMiner®:

Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

If there’s one success story being written in India, it’s that of renewable energy.

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By the government’s own reckoning, despite India’s energy needs likely to double over the next seven years (going by the current rate of economic growth), the nation is likely to meet two-fifths of its electricity needs with renewable sources by 2030.

Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh told reporters recently that the efficiency of solar panels itself had already reached 30%, and prices were likely to reduce due to an increase in usage.

The government’s stipulated target is of 175 Gigawatt (GW) of renewable generation by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind generation, up from the current total renewable energy generation capacity of about 59 GW (with wind already now at about 33 GW).

What’s more, a report this month by the International Energy Agency (IEA) said India’s renewable energy capacity would more than double by 2022, which would be enough to overtake renewable expansion in the European Union for the first time.

India’s present-day renewable energy installed capacity is about 59 GW. “By 2022, India’s renewable capacity will more than double. This growth is enough to overtake renewable expansion in the European Union for the first time,” IEA said in its latest renewables market analysis and forecast.

The IEA added that the solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind together represented 90% of India’s capacity growth, as auctions yielded some of the world’s lowest prices for both technologies.

India needs an investment of around U.S. $100 billion to meet the target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.

As of now, China was the undisputed leader of renewable electricity capacity expansion over the forecast period, with over 360 GW of capacity coming online. China, as per the IEA, had already exceeded its 2020 solar PV target three years ahead of time and is set to achieve its onshore wind target in 2019.

China, India and the U.S. will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022, according to the IEA report. The total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, it added.

The power consumption of electric vehicles — including cars, two- and three-wheelers, and buses — was expected to double over the next five years. Renewable electricity is estimated to represent almost 30% of their consumption by 2022, up from 26% today.

This year’s renewable forecast was 12% higher than last year, mostly because of solar PV traction in China and India.