This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Shipments Rise 5.8%

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This morning in metals news, July shipments by U.S. steel mills were up compared to last year, U.S. raw steel production for the week ending Sept. 8 was up 9.8% compared with the same week last year and the Aluminum Association asked the Trump administration to provide quota-free tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico.

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Steel Shipments Surge in July on Year-Over-Year Basis

U.S. steel mill shipments in July were up 5.8% compared with July 2017, according to a report by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

Mills shipped over 7.9 million net tons of steel in July 2018. However, shipments were down 1.0% from the previous month.

Steel Production Rises

For the week ending Sept. 8, U.S. raw steel production hit 1.88 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.2%, according to an AISI report, marking a 9.8% increase from the same week in 2017 (when the capacity utilization rate was 73.4%).

In addition, production jumped 0.5% from the week ending Sept. 1, 2018.

Aluminum Association Asks for Quota-Free Tariff Exemptions for Canada, Mexico

As the U.S. continues a second leg of negotiations on NAFTA — this time with Canada after having reached an agreement in principle with Mexico — the Aluminum Association sent a letter to the Trump administration calling for quota-free tariff exemptions on aluminum for Canada and Mexico.

The two countries were hit with the Section 232 tariff after their temporary exemptions expired June 1.

“Even more importantly, though, I encourage the Administration to use this negotiation process to address any national security questions specific to Canada and Mexico raised in the Commerce Department’s Section 232 report,” wrote Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, in the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “A successful negotiation for a modernized NAFTA should resolve these concerns, and I encourage you to recommend that President Trump provide a full exemption – without quotas – for aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.

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“As the U.S. aluminum industry is in a deficit market, limiting access to aluminum suppliers in the NAFTA region will be a barrier to continued U.S. growth and investment.”

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