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: steel prices; container traffic trends; housing starts; oil prices; E.U. anti-dumping duties on stainless steel; and much more.
stainless steel price
The Stainless Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 6.0% this month.
Sporadic reports of mine closures and special working arrangements have gathered momentum during March and into April, in some cases sparking fears of ore supply shortages.
Few places have had quite the profound impact that closures in South Africa have caused.
The Stainless Steel Monthly Metals Index (MMI) declined by three points this month to 67, following a five-point decline last month.
LME nickel prices continued to slide as global markets reacted to production delays due to coronavirus, which weakened demand and prices.
The Stainless Steel Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gave up five points this month, setting the value back to 70.
LME nickel prices dropped slightly below the $13,000/mt price level in late January when industrial metals prices, generally speaking, declined as markets reacted to China’s coronavirus situation.
We all love conspiracy stories — who knew what and who was manipulating events behind the scenes?
A recent Telegraph article takes a more balanced approach to review goings-on at the London Metal Exchange (LME) amid accusations that have been leveled against some major market players that they were instrumental, or at least complicit, in the manipulation of the nickel market last year.
Another victim of China’s coronavirus epidemic could well be the iron ore price.
Iron ore had a stellar 2019, reaching a five-year high of $125 per ton in July on the back of Vale SA’s Brumadinho mining dam disaster and Cyclone Veronica, which struck Western Australia in March.
Since then, the price has fallen back to just over $78 per ton in December and is currently trading around $90 per ton in Singapore — still well above prices this time last year.
Supply disruption was met with rising demand. China produced nearly 1 billion tons of steel in 2019 and consumed an estimated 875 million tons, spurred by stimulus-supported infrastructure spending and consumption from the construction market.
U.S. steel imports through the first 11 months of 2019 were down 17% compared with the same period in 2018, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.
Imports through the first 11 months of 2019 reached 23.9 millions tons, down from 28.9 million tons from January-November 2018.
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: steel prices, commodities markets, precious metals, the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal and the Senate’s approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
This morning in metals news, aluminum maker Alcoa released its financial results for Q4 and 2019, an Ohio steel plant touts investment that it says will bring new jobs and a Pittsburgh-based metals manufacturer says it will have to close a facility unless it wins a steel tariff exemption.
Alcoa releases quarterly financials
Aluminum maker Alcoa reported a net loss of $303 million ($57 million excluding special items) in Q4 2019.
Fourth-quarter revenue came in at $2.4 billion, down from $2.6 billion the previous quarter and $3.3 billion in Q4 2018.
“In 2019, we acted to further strengthen Alcoa, completing the divestiture of uncompetitive assets, modernizing labor agreements in three countries, implementing a new operating model, and making quick progress on the asset review process we announced last quarter,” Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey said.
“While the market in alumina and aluminum challenged us, we maintained a strong cash balance of nearly $900 million and drove operational stability,” Harvey said. “Also, our low-cost, top-tier bauxite and alumina segments both set new annual production records based on our current portfolio.”