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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) lost one point this month, falling for an October MMI reading of 103.

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Rare Earths Removed From Final Tariff List

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced a list of Chinese products worth $200 billion that would be targeted for tariffs, a list that included a number of important materials for high-tech applications (including cobalt, cobalt oxides, cobalt sulfates and cobalt chlorides).

The final list, however, which went into effect late last month, did not include a number of rare earths materials that showed up on the original list.

However, a number of cobalt products remained on the final list.

Harnessing the Power of the Sea

As interest and demand in renewable energy continues to grow, so, too, is innovation in the field.

Physics World recently reported on the development of a device that serves to triple the amplitude of a water wave.

According to the report, the circular device deploys vertical metal sheets to concentrate the wave in a shallow space.

Renewable Momentum

Speaking of interest in renewable energy, a Stratfor report surveys the rise in interest at the corporate level.

While listing corporations that have announced intentions to shift toward renewable energy (or have already done so), the report name drops a couple of metals industry players.

“For instance, metals giant Alcoa sources 75 percent of the energy required for its smelters from renewables, while mining giant Rio Tinto acquires just under half of its energy from such sources,” the report states.

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

Japanese steel plate fell 2.1% to $755.73/mt. Korean steel plate fell 0.2% to $675.67/mt. Chinese steel plate also posted a slight drop, falling to $716.11/mt.

U.S. steel plate fell 0.5% to $992/mt.

U.S. grain-oriented electrical steel coil dropped 10.3% to $2,478.

Chinese neodymium fell 0.4% to $59,311.60/mt. Chinese silicon also fell, down to $1,499.17/mt. Chinese cobalt cathodes fell 0.4% to $96,790.80/mt.


This morning in metals news, U.S. Steel contract talks continue with its workers, aluminum prices continued to rise today after a big surge yesterday and U.S. steel import permit applications dropped significantly in September.

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U.S. Steel Pulls Back From Some Proposals in Contract Talks

According to a report by the Times of Northwest Indiana, U.S. Steel has pulled back from some proposals in its contract talks with USW that had the union on the brink of a strike.

MetalMiner’s Take: Buying organizations need to pay much closer attention to labor disputes and production disruptions with tariffs in play. Yesterday, Norsk Hydro shut down its Alunorte alumina refinery plant in Brazil due to an environmental dispute. The shutdown sent aluminum prices soaring by over 2% yesterday and prices remain supported today. Any potential strike at either ArcelorMittal or U.S. Steel could have a similar impact on steel prices.

Aluminum Prices Continue to Rise

Aluminum prices surged yesterday, and continued to rise Thursday, MarketWatch reported.

The price continues to rise on Thursday after news of Norsk Hydro’s plans to close its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.

MetalMiner’s Take: LME aluminum prices rose sharply yesterday, driven by demand concerns. News of a potential closure in the word’s largest alumina refinery in Brazil helped the boost in aluminum prices, as this could create a larger shortage of the metal.

LME aluminum prices have been trading sideways since July. LME aluminum prices increased again, showing a strong uptrend. Trading volumes also seem supportive of this uptrend.

We will see LME aluminum prices continue to increase in the upcoming days, unless supply concerns ease.

Steel Import Permit Applications Down 7.6%

Steel import permit applications fell 7.6% last month compared to August totals, according to a recent American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) report.

The report, which cites the Department of Commerce’s Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis data, says applications for September totaled 2,739,000 net tons.