September 2020 housing starts in the U.S. got a big boost on a year-over-year basis, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.
Privately owned housing starts increased 11.1% in September 2020 compared with September 2019.
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.
September 2020 housing starts up 1.9% from August
Furthermore, September 2020 housing starts gained 1.9% month over month.
Starts reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,415,000 in September.
Meanwhile, single-family housing starts in September hit at a rate of 1,108,000, or up 8.5% from August. In addition, the September rate for units in buildings with five units or more reached 295,000.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).