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According to the International Aluminum Institute, global aluminum production totaled 5.16 million tons in September, down from 5.33 million tons in August and 5.30 million tons in September 2018.

Despite the decline in production, prices have not received a boost — in fact, the LME aluminum price per pound is hovering at around $0.78 per pound.

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Top producer China saw its production levels dip again last month.

Chinese aluminum production totaled an estimated 2.88 million tons, down from 2.97 million tons in August and 3.01 million tons in September 2018.

North American aluminum production reached 310,000 tons, down from 321,000 tons in August and flat compared with September 2018 production.

Asian production ex-China reached 363,000 tons, down from 374,000 tons in August and 364,000 tons in September 2018.

GCC production totaled 456,000 tons, down from 469,000 tons in August but up from the 437,000 tons produced in September 2018.

Production in eastern and central Europe totaled 344,000, down from 356,000 tons, but up from the 332,000 tons produced in September 2018.

Western European production totaled 276,000 tons, down from 286,000 tons in August and the 312,000 tons produced in September 2018.

In terms of prices, LME three-month aluminum is down 2.86% over the last month, down to $1,731/mt.

“LME aluminum prices weakened in September, despite looking stronger early on in the month,” MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller explained earlier this month. “Less robust manufacturing and economic indicators hurt some industrial metal prices this month, including aluminum. The stronger U.S. dollar also resulted in weaker prices.

“LME prices look close to possibly dropping below yet another critical price level, $1,700/mt, after clearly breaking the $1,800/mt support level since last month.”

Chinese aluminum prices have also been on the decline of late. SHFE primary cash aluminum recently fell to 13,960 CNY per ton, down from 14,280 CNY per ton a month ago, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

LME prices have picked up slightly in recent days, but not substantially. With Chinese production now posting monthly declines for two straight months, it remains to be seen if that supply-side activity will have a supportive impact on prices.

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So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Of course, the demand picture must also be figured into any industrial metal’s forecast. The IMF recently downgraded its 2019 global growth forecast to 3%, its lowest level since the financial crisis — an ill omen for demand of a wide range of goods, including industrial metals.

Automotive demand for aluminum — among other metals — is a large source of the metal’s overall demand. As the IMF’s World Economic Outlook released this month notes, a slowdown in No. 1 automotive market China has weighed on aluminum prices.

Referring to the period between February and August of this year, the IMF noted, “The price of aluminum fell by 6.6 percent because of overcapacity in China and weakening demand from the vehicle market there.”

A growing copper supply is not exactly what copper producers wanted to hear, as a new mine with a 100-year life span has been announced.

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Prices have been depressed all year, with worries about deteriorating trade and surplus supply weighing on sentiment.

Anglo American’s $5 billion copper project at Quellaveco in Peru could potentially hold enough reserves to supply a century of production, according to company CEO Mark Cutifani, as reported by the Financial Times.

The article reports the extensive ore body has so far only been defined to a depth of 400 meters. However, with ore grades at over 1%, the mine’s economics are solid.

Further drilling will be required to map the full extent, but preliminary sampling suggests mineralization could extend to 1,000 meters, the company says.

Quellaveco is due to start production in 2022. Once it reaches full capacity, it will produce an average 330,000 tons a year of copper in its first five years; in the company’s words, it will be a license to print money, the Financial Times reported.

Two adjacent mines in the same area have been in production for more than four decades at much greater depths than Quellaveco’s current boundaries, suggesting mineralization is far more extensive than current sampling has identified.

Copper demand is widely expected to rise in the coming decade due to the electrification of cars and the expansion of renewable energy. Currently, however, the market is oversupplied, with RC/TC charges at smelters depressed and little to support prices.

A recent upturn has reversed, as Antofagasta averted a labor strike, reaching a labor agreement with the union at its Los Pelambres mine. Prices subsequently resumed their weak showing, as supply fears quickly eased.

Supply from Quellaveco will not hit the market for some years, even assuming Anglo American manages to bring its project to production on time, which is by no means certain. One of its other major projects, its iron ore mine at Minas Rio, was severely delayed and horribly over budget, for example.

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The company has performed better under Cutifani. The timing for Quellaveco to reach full production in the early to mid-part of the next decade may indeed significantly improve the firm’s prospects if, as widely expected, copper prices have recovered by then.

Brazilian miner Vale recently unveiled its third-quarter production and sales figures, showing a strong quarter for the company’s iron ore operations.

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Vale’s iron ore fines production totaled 86.7 million tons in the third quarter, up 35.4% from the previous quarter. The increase was powered in part by the resumption of operations at Brucutu and the partial resumption of dry processing operations at the Vargem Grande Complex.

“Vale expects to resume the remaining production of approximately 50 Mt by 2021, as several milestones were achieved and others are ongoing, including the approval of trigger tests on the mines to resume dry processing operations and the authorization of trigger tests at the TFA Rail Terminal (Terminal Ferroviário de Andaime), an important step toward debottlenecking the Vargem Grande Complex logistics,” Vale said in its production release.

Vale expects to recover lost production stemming from the January tailings dam collapse in Brumadinho over the next two years. The miner expects to recover approximately 30 million tons of production “with 7 Mt coming from the resumption of the dry processing operations at the Vargem Grande Complex in 2019 and the remaining from Fábrica, Timbopeba dry processing operations and others.”

The remaining production is expected to return in 2021, mainly from wet processing operations at Timbopeba and Vargem Grande Complex.

Meanwhile, Vale’s pellet production reached 11.1 million tons in Q3, up 22.7% from Q2. Last month, Vale revised its pellets production guidance down to 43 million tons from previous guidance of 45 million tons.

Last month, the miner announced investment plans for the communities impacted by the fatal tailings dam collapse in January at its Corrego do Feijao mine.

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The miner announced plans to invest R$190 million in the communities of Macacos, Barão de Cocais and Itabirito.

The inevitable has happened.

For some months now, copper industry experts in India have been predicting India would become a net importer of copper during this fiscal year.

Well, that has happened.

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For the first time in 18 years, India turned into a net copper importer. The primary factor behind the shift is the permanent closure of Sterlite’s 400,000 ton per annum smelter in South India from May 2018.

Two other major players, along with Sterlite, dominated primary copper production in India: state-owned Hindustan Copper and privately held Hindalco Limited. With Sterlite gone from the picture, there is now a shortfall of almost 40% between supply and demand.

The Times of India quoted Urvisha Jagasheth, research analyst at CARE Ratings, saying in a report that domestic production of refined copper had grown at a CAGR of 9.6% during fiscal years 2014-2018. Production fell by 46.1% during FY 2019 due to the Sterlite closure.

Faced with no other option, those requiring copper, like cathode ray tube producers, turned to importing refined copper.

During the nine months in FY 2019, India imported refined copper from Japan which accounted 71% of the country’s copper imports, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7%), Singapore (6%), Chile (4%), South Africa (4%), Tanzania (3%), Switzerland (1%) and UAE (1%), the Financial Express reported.

Meanwhile, in the other direction, India exported refined copper to China (75%), Taiwan (10%), Malaysia (7%), South Korea (6%) and Bangladesh (3%) during the same period.

CARE said in an earlier report in the Business Standard that there was intense pressure from domestic buyers because of the increasing demand from the power sector, what with the Indian government’s emphasis on renewable energy. Soon, adding to this mix, manufacturers of hybrid and electric cars will also become major buyers of copper.

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“We estimate domestic refined copper demand to increase by 7-8 per cent (including consumption of scrap) by the end of FY20,” the CARE report said.

The World Steel Association forecast global steel demand will rise 3.9% in 2019 and by 1.7% in 2020.

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According to the World Steel Association’s October Short Range Outlook (SRO), global steel demand in 2019 is forecast to reach 1,775.0 million tons and 1,805.7 million tons in 2020.

As for China, Chinese steel demand is forecast to rise 7.8% in 2019 but by just 1.0% in 2020.

Saeed Al Remeithi, chairman of the World Steel Association’s Economics Committee, overviewed some of the factors at play in the global steel demand picture.

“The current SRO suggests that global steel demand will continue to grow in 2019, more than we expected in these challenging times, mainly due to China,” he said. “In the rest of the world, steel demand slowed in 2019 as uncertainty, trade tensions and geopolitical issues weighed on investment and trade. Manufacturing, particularly the auto industry, has performed poorly contracting in many countries, however in construction, despite some slowing, a positive momentum has been maintained.”

Despite trade headwinds and slowing economic growth overall, China’s steel demand is forecast to have a solid 2019, before dropping in 2020. The country’s manufacturing and automotive sectors have struggled; according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China’s automobile production dropped 12.1% on a year-over-year basis through the first eight months of the year.

“We expect the Chinese economy to worsen in the later part of 2019 and in 2020 with the unresolved trade tensions adding further pressure,” the SRO stated. “It is unlikely that the Chinese government will reintroduce substantial stimulus measures as it continues to hold a balance between containing the slowdown and pushing forward its economic restructuring agenda. Selective mild stimuli focused on infrastructure and strengthening consumer purchasing power through tax cuts is more likely.  The auto industry could benefit from such stimulus in 2020.  China’s steel demand is expected to see growth of 1.0% in 2020.”

In the developed world, steel demand is forecast to contract slightly in 2019 after a 1.2% increase in 2018.

Meanwhile, in developing countries (ex-China), the growth picture is mixed.

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“Growth of steel demand in the emerging economies excluding China is expected to slow down to 0.4% in 2019 due to contractions in Turkey, MENA and Latin America,” the SRO states. “But the growth is expected to rebound to 4.1% in 2020 due to infrastructure investments, especially in Asia.”

Anyone who argues the U.K. has not been impacted by its decision three years ago to leave the European Union only has to look at the figures to see how wrong that argument is.

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The Financial Times reported this week that the U.K. narrowly avoided a recession this summer, as Q2’s contraction was followed by a minuscule bounceback in Q3 thanks to a pick-up in services, which grew at 0.4%.

Manufacturing, however, as anyone in the metals industry will know only too well, remained in recession, contracting by 0.7% in August compared to last year, according to the Financial Times.

Commentators put this down to uncertainty over what Brexit will look like and when it will happen, hindering plans for investment and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and retrenchment.

Set this against a possibly more worrying trend for the U.K. and you have to ask what the longer-term prospects are for the economy.

An earlier Financial Times article this week explored the longer-term fall in productivity that has held back wealth creation since the financial crisis.

In the U.K., productivity has stagnated since the 2008 financial crisis, the Financial Times reported, failing to recover as it typically does following contractions.

Moreover, it has weakened since the 2016 Brexit referendum and contracted in the past year; productivity contracted in the second quarter at the fastest pace in five years.

According to the Financial Times, many economists and businesspeople point to the lack of business investment as a reason for deteriorating productivity. Business investment has barely expanded since the second quarter of 2016 and contracted 0.4% in the three months to June, suggesting Brexit and falling productivity are a conjoined crisis, with one supporting the other.

Businesses have preferred to hire workers than invest, so unemployment is low and that’s what grabs the headlines, but the inability to increase the value of goods and services produced per hour of work limits what companies can afford to pay their workers — so, living standards stagnate.

Utilities and construction were the only sectors that recorded a rise in productivity, while output per hour fell 1.9% in the manufacturing sector and by 0.8% in the services sector. Services account for about 80% of the U.K.’s economy.

Source: Financial Times

Nor is the U.K. simply suffering the same problem as everyone else.

Since the second quarter of 2008, the U.K.’s lack of productivity growth contrasted with an average 9% expansion in labor productivity for the 36 member countries of the OECD.

It is hard to see what will break the cycle.

Supporters of Brexit talk about the U.K. being transformed into a low-tax tiger, like Singapore, post-Brexit.

Realistically, most see that as unlikely.

Even if taxes were to be dramatically reduced, with the expected new immigration controls and low unemployment, labor could begin to get tight and wages could rise sharply. If that were not accompanied by a sharp uplift in GDP, the U.K. could be caught in a deflationary trap, with low-cost, tax-free imports causing major disruption to domestic producers.

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No wonder the issue of Brexit has the public and politicians so divided.

Unaware, as most are, of the U.K.’s low productivity growth, the long-term impact has been the very stagnation in living standards that has in part fueled the desire to leave the E.U. and search for a brighter future.

Good luck with that.

The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped one point this month down to an MMI reading of 21.

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U.S. Looks Beyond China

One point of underlying tension between the U.S. and China, as the two countries have waged a bitter trade war over the past year, has been China’s dominance of rare earths.

The materials, crucial for use in a wide variety of high-tech capacities, overwhelmingly come from China.

As such, the U.S., looking to wean itself off dependence on China for said rare earths, is looking to form partnerships elsewhere, as MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns recently explained.

“Many will recall, and not a few lament, the failure to support California’s Mountain Pass mine, source of the country’s rare earth metals, as an example of how exposed the U.S. has become,” Burns explained.

“According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DFIDS), the U.S. was largely self-sufficient for most of the 20th century, with all of its rare-earth needs being met by the Mountain Pass mine.

“However, following a free trade deal between the U.S. and China in the 1990s, lower labor costs and regulatory requirements meant China could undercut Mountain Pass. Combined with problems over water supply pollution and stricter regulations, Mountain Pass was forced to shut down.”

As such, the U.S. is looking to shore up its rare earths supply chains by forming partnerships elsewhere.

“Now, the U.S. is seeking cooperation from potential supply countries outside of China — notably Australia, but also Greenland, Botswana and Peru,” Burns continued. “The U.S. is looking to develop not just alternative raw material supply but, more importantly, to develop refining facilities, too.

“A new body, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, is set to play a significant role in facilitating the U.S. government’s efforts to take equity positions in mining projects and encouraging private sector investment, according to Frank Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, according to Reuters.”

Trudeau, Trump Talk Rare Earths

Continuing the aforementioned theme, Bloomberg reported late last month that U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently discussed efforts to secure supply chains for rare earths.

According to the report, a joint action plan will be presented to the government coalition that forms after the Oct. 21 elections in Canada.

“It is in our interests to ensure that we have reliable supplies of these important minerals for technology, and it’s a conversation that our government is leading on,” Trudeau was quoted as saying at a recent press conference. “Canada has many of the rare earth minerals that are so necessary for modern technologies.”

Also of note, the next round of U.S.-China trade talks are scheduled for later this week.

However, the two countries are already on shaky ground heading into the talks.

Following a tweet by Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets NBA franchise, in which he expressed support for anti-government protestors in Hong Kong, Chinese businesses announced they would sever ties with the organization. Chinese broadcast partners Tencent and the state-owned CCTV announced they would no longer broadcast Rockets games, marking yet another point of tension between the two countries.

In addition, the Bureau of Industry and Security announced it would add 28 Chinese organizations to the Entity List for “engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States.”

“The U.S. Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said. “This action will ensure that our technologies, fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise, are not used to repress defenseless minority populations.”

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

Chinese yttrium prices rose 0.4% month over month to $31.48/kilogram as of Oct. 1. Chinese terbium oxide dropped 1.2% to $540.68/kilogram.

Neodymium oxide fell 0.8% to $44,695.50/mt.

Europium oxide rose 0.3% to $30.78/kilogram. Dysprosium oxide fell 2.0% to $260.90/kilogram.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike at a number of General Motors factories started Sept. 16 is now into its fourth week, with losses mounting for both GM, the workers and GM’s wider supply chain.

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According to CNN, GM is estimated to have lost some $660 million already. Losses are rising, as non-unionized plants close for want of parts made in the striking operations.

The numbers are eye-watering, although only some 46,000 workers are directly involved. GM alone is said to be suffering losses that started at $10 million a day but are rapidly rising toward $90 million a day, CNN reported, citing the Anderson Economic Group.

If a resolution is not found soon, GM alone could lose over U.S. $1 billion, in addition to the workers’ salary losses of about $18 million a day this week rising to $25 million next week.

Among GM’s approximately 10,000 strong supply chain are also going onto short working, layoffs and in some cases, outright shutdown as the closure of GM plants spreads. A separate CNN article even suggests a Midwest recession, as GM’s problems are heaped on a farming sector already in recession and those Midwest manufacturers already hit by a slowdown due to tariffs and fallout from the trade war.

GM’s share price has taken a hammering and credit rating agency Moody’s has already warned that the stoppage would probably have a material impact on GM’s finances.

With GM’s credit rating just one step above junk bond status, a downgrade would impact the firm’s cost of borrowing.

To suggest both sides are desperate for a resolution is an understatement.

But to say they are close to any kind of agreement is an overstatement following a collapse in talks this weekend.

The union’s demands are broadly two-fold. It is seeking to enhance job security by forcing GM to shift production of sport utility and pick-up trucks from its three manufacturing operations in Mexico to U.S. plants, a move that many would probably welcome (although there would be margin losses for GM in the process).

The other areas of focus for the union is worker rewards and pensions, wage increases and a path for temporary workers to become permanent employees, according to CNN. Two unresolved matters include the time of service required for less senior workers to reach the top union-wage — it currently takes eight years — and inflation and cost-of-living adjustments for pensions and 401(k) retirement plans.

Support for these issues is less universal outside of the strikers, anyway. GM’s workers are already highly paid, with many making over $30/hr, plus benefits like health care, for which workers pay only 4% — a pittance compared to levels in the rest of corporate America, the Economist says.

The UAW is not out to win any popularity contests.

UAW sees the growth of electric vehicles as a major disruptor for established internal combustion engine manufacturers, like GM, which threatens the firm’s capacity to reward them in the future. The union has also accurately judged the public mood, at least on the topic of offshoring and globalization.

If ever there was a time to push GM to reshore production, even from neighboring Mexico to U.S. plants, it is now.

GM is currently Detroit’s most profitable company, with earnings of $8 billion last year. This strike will not bring the company down, but in a slowing Midwestern economy the damage is rippling beyond just the affected plants and their suppliers. Interconnected operations use up inventory and the impact spreads up and down the supply chains into the wider economy.

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Let’s hope increasing acrimony is reversed and a solution is found soon.

An interesting article in the Financial Times this week struck a chord with us at MetalMiner where we often debate how we see metals and manufacturing will go. As such, we often try to shoot holes in oft touted but poorly researched “trends” found in the popular media or espoused by politicians.

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One that crops up repeatedly is the inevitability of electric vehicles (EVs) burying the internal combustion engine (ICE), a proposition with which the Financial Times article would agree, it seems.

Anyone reading the mainstream media can be forgiven for thinking EVs are the fastest-growing sector of the automotive market. We are often bombarded with new model launches but, also, the ramifications of this surging demand are painted as an imminent threat to price stability for a host of key battery metals, like lithium, cobalt and nickel, or motor metals, like copper.

Indeed, the only trend said to be supporting copper prices is “surging” EV demand.

As the FT observes, EV numbers are growing.

Worldwide, some 5.1 million EVs were on the roads by the end of 2018, an increase of 2 million from the year before. Global sales of EVs are likely to be between 2.4 million and 2.9 million this year.

EV sales, however, are still being outstripped by growth in fuel-guzzling SUVs.

The between 7 million and 8 million EVs that should be on the road by the end of 2019 represent less than 0.1% of the 1.1 billion cars and other light vehicles that use internal combustion engines. Some 85 million ICE vehicles were sold worldwide in 2018 and, even from this much higher base, SUVs are experiencing rapid growth in outright numbers.

After growth of over 20% a year earlier in the decade, global demand growth for SUVs is now stabilizing — but at a high level of market share.

In the U.S., SUVs account for 45% of new car sales, the Financial Times reports.

But the trend is not limited to the U.S.

In Europe, SUVs take 34% of new sales, in China 42% and in India 23% the article advises, equating to some 25 million to 30 million annual SUV sales worldwide. While some of these may be hybrids, anyone who owns an SUV hybrid will know they are far from fuel efficient; in fact, they rarely even approach the level of fuel efficiency the manufacturers claim in their glossy sales brochures.

The reality is, despite governments and even oil companies pouring millions into infrastructure and commitment from traditional manufacturers — like all product lines having an EV version by 2020 or 50% of the fleet being EV by some future date) — Joe Public is not voting with his or her wallet to buy them. At least, not in enough numbers to drive a meaningful switch to EVs.

Indeed, the statistics suggest the switch is to larger, gas-guzzling SUVs, rather than EVs.

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If that is the case what does that say about metals demand?

It suggests, as far as the automotive market is concerned, it will continue to be driven by steel and aluminum, with support for copper — but not the tsunami of imminent demand for lithium ion batteries, as some have touted.

The Aluminum Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped by one point again this month, this month down to an MMI reading of 82.

However, rather than universal price weakness like last month, price declines in China pulled the index down (along with a milder drop in LME prices).

All other prices in the index increased, although some of the gains were relatively small (i.e., under 1%).

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LME aluminum prices weakened in September, despite looking stronger early on in the month. Less robust manufacturing and economic indicators hurt some industrial metal prices this month, including aluminum. The stronger U.S. dollar also resulted in weaker prices.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of London Metal Exchange (LME) and FastMarkets

LME prices look close to possibly dropping below yet another critical price level, $1,700/mt, after clearly breaking the $1,800/mt support level since last month.

SHFE Aluminum Prices Lost Ground in September

Over the course of 2019, SHFE aluminum prices continued to show sluggish upward momentum, constrained by the CNY 14,500/mt price level.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of Fastmarkets

However, during the past one month, SHFE prices dropped:

Source: MetalMiner analysis of Fastmarkets

The price drop looks somewhat mild, as it looks to be within the range of normal price fluctuations for the metal over the past year.

Around mid-month, news of slowing economic growth in China led to a stalling of price momentum for some key industrial metals, including aluminum.

However, not all the recent news from China indicated manufacturing is slowing.

The Caixin Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) clearly jumped into the expansionary zone, as reported in this month’s MetalMiner Monthly Outlook.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) competing PMI also edged up to 49.8 (compared with August’s reading of 49.5). In particular, the production subindex jumped to 52.3, while the new orders index increased to 50.5 — both marking expansionary readings.

Recently, the Chinese government implemented fiscal measures expected to help maintain higher growth rates through improved banking sector liquidity. Expected beneficiaries of the measures include the construction industry and small businesses.

Demand in the automotive sector remains weak, adding to aluminum price weakness (as pointed out by MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns in a recent article). The government implemented measures to help improve traditional car sales; so far, the data do not show an uptick in sales as a result of these measures, which rely on implementation at the local government level.

Strong U.S. Dollar Suppresses LME Prices

One effect of slowed growth in other major countries pertains to the continued upward trend in the dollar’s value, which grew stronger vis-a-vis other major currencies.

This compounds with China’s decision to devalue the yuan in early August, which translates into yet lower prices.

Key raw material input costs have also dropped.

Therefore, producers — particularly producers in China — have a greater buffer against lower prices, allowing them to lower prices while maintaining margins. As such, those producers can then continue to produce, even at lower prices.

Additionally, when Chinese domestic prices stay the same or decline in dollar-denominated prices, increased sales volume may be the result. Chinese producers can therefore benefit without effectively offering any actual price discount. In the worst-case scenario — the case of rising prices — the alteration in the exchange rate slows the rate of increases in dollar-denominated prices.

Vietnam Announces Tariffs on Aluminum Imports from 16 Chinese Companies

Based on the findings of an investigation launched in January, Vietnam announced it would impose anti-dumping duties on some aluminum products from 16 Chinese companies.

The tax will range from 2.49% to 35.58% for five years, starting from Sept. 28, 2019.

U.S. Aluminum Premiums

The U.S. Midwest Premium increased marginally, placing it firmly at $0.18/pound, indicating supply tightness continues in spite of weaker demand.

What This Means for Industrial Buyers

Aluminum price momentum stalled in September.

Recent Chinese currency devaluation and a stronger dollar means lower prices — for now.

Industrial buying organizations need to keep an eye on the bigger picture; should demand firm up in the fall, price momentum may still turn around.

Buying organizations interested in tracking industrial metals prices with embedded forecasting should request a demo of MetalMiner Insights platform.

Buying organizations seeking more insight into longer-term aluminum price trends should read MetalMiner’s Annual Metal Buying Outlook.

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

Chinese prices in the index moved lower overall this month.

Chinese aluminum primary cash and scrap prices decreased by 2.9% and 2.8% respectively, to $1,955/mt and $1,762/mt.

Chinese aluminum billet and bar prices posted 0.2% declines, falling to $2,056/mt and $2,150/mt, respectively.

The LME primary three-month price dropped by 1.5% this month to $1,720/mt, adding to the 3.4% drop the month prior.

European commercial 1050 sheet and 5083 plate both increased by 2.6% to $2,456/mt and $2,799/mt, respectively.

India’s primary cash price increased 1% to $1.96 per kilogram.

Korean commercial 1050 sheet, 5052 coil premium over 1050, and 3003 coil premium over 1050 all increased by less than 1% – reversing last month’s mild decrease of less than 1% — down to $2.97, $3.14 and $3.02 per kilogram, respectively.