This Morning in Metals: China’s crude steel production rises 1.2% in Q1

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This morning in metals news, China’s steel sector continued to post production growth in Q1 despite the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Steel is idling its Keetac mine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) cobalt exports plunged in Q1.

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China’s steel production rises 1.2% in Q1

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Q1 steel production in the country rose 1.2%.

Unsurprisingly, China’s imports and exports declined in Q1.

“In the first quarter, the total value of imports and exports of goods was 6,574.2 billion yuan, down by 6.4 percent year on year,” the Bureau reported. “In March, the total value of imports and exports was 2,445.9 billion yuan, down by 0.8 percent year on year, a decline slowed by 8.7 percentage points compared to that of the first two months. Of the total, the value of exports was 1,292.7 billion yuan, down by 3.5 percent; the value of imports was 1,153.2 billion yuan, up by 2.4 percent, with import of general trade growing by 4.0 percent.”

U.S. Steel to idle Keetac mine

Continuing the recent string of facility closures stemming from depressed steel demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Steel will idle its Keetac mine and processing facility in Keewatin, Minnesota, reported.

As a result, the steelmaker will lay off 375 workers at Keetac, according to the report.

Congo cobalt exports drop

Cobalt exports from the DRC have dropped 15% in the first quarter of this year according to the country’s mining minister, Reuters reported.

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According to the DRC’s central bank, cobalt accounts for 95% of the country’s export revenue, Reuters reported.

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