Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

The United States’ aluminum tariff wall is crumbling – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – It is almost a year since the United States imposed duties on imports of aluminum and steel on national security grounds. If the aim of the so-called “Section 232” tariffs was to lift domestic production, President Donald Trump’s administration can claim a degree of success.

U.S. output of primary aluminum has started rising sharply thanks to restarts of idled capacity, although not all of them have been directly down to the 10-percent import tariff.

If, however, the aim was also to tackle rising import penetration, particularly by Chinese aluminum producers, tariffs may already have passed peak effectiveness. Ever more gaps are appearing in the aluminum trade wall as the number of exclusions granted for specific products lengthens. Continue Reading →

Canada won’t ratify new NAFTA until steel and aluminum tariffs lifted, warns key U.S. Senator – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – February 14, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Canada and Mexico won’t consider ratifying the revised North American Free Trade Agreement unless the United States lifts its tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said Tuesday.

Grassley, who held meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena Coquilast week, said the levies are now the “biggest impediment” to approving the deal.

“The Senate in Mexico is not going to take it up until the tariffs are off,” Grassley said during a call with reporters. “The House of Commons in Canada’s not going to take it up if it’s not there soon after March 1 and it’s not going to be there unless the tariffs are off. And even Republicans and Democrats in the Congress of the United States say those tariffs have to go off.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: Trump’s metal tariffs end up favoring China’s steel and aluminum over Canada’s – by Erin Dunne (Washington Examiner – February 11, 2019)

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/

President Trump has many justifications for his tariffs: national security, pushing back on unfair trade deals, and protecting American manufacturing. Not on the list: playing favorites with Chinese imports over those from neighboring Canada. But through the convoluted exclusions process of U.S. tariffs, that’s exactly what has happened.

As the CBC reported, about 40 percent of U.S. imports of Chinese steel have been excluded from the 25 percent tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and 86 percent of imports of Chinese aluminum, otherwise subject to a 10 percent tariff, have been excluded.

For comparison, only 2 percent of U.S. imports of Canadian steel are free from tariffs and less than 1 percent of aluminum. So how did this happen? Continue Reading →

Trump orders agencies to buy U.S.-made steel, aluminum and cement ‘to the greatest extent’ possible – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – February 7, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

A new executive order from U.S. President Donald Trump aims to strengthen his Buy America initiative by “encouraging” agencies to purchase a wider range of U.S.-made materials for infrastructure projects.

The order, published Thursday, urges agency heads to purchase more American-made construction materials for infrastructure projects ranging from surface transportation and water infrastructure to energy transmission, broadband internet and cybersecurity projects.

It follows on Trump’s 2017 “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which tightened standards for federal procurement departments and companies that hire foreign workers. Continue Reading →

Rusal shares soar, aluminum falls as U.S. lifts sanctions – by Patricia Zengerle and Polina Ivanova (Reuters U.S. – January 27, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Sunday lifted sanctions on the core empire of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, including aluminum giant Rusal and its parent En+, despite a Democrat-led push to maintain them.

The move, which sent the Russian stock index to an all-time high, has watered down the toughest penalties imposed since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, following a lobbying campaign in the United States that lasted almost 10 months.

Hong-Kong listed shares in Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, hit their highest since April on Monday, rising 9 percent. Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) dropped as much as 1.4 percent after the open. The sanctions had sent London aluminum to a seven-year high when they were announced in April last year amid fears of a supply squeeze. Continue Reading →

Canada collects $839M in steel and aluminum tariffs, but aid for sector mostly unspent – by Janyce McGregor (CBC Politics – January 27, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Federal support from $2-billion aid package slow to pay out

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told an interviewer in Davos this week that once the U.S. drops its steel and aluminum tariffs, Canada will too, “30 seconds later.”

Until that day comes, the extra taxation is pretty lucrative for the federal government. Finance Canada says $839 million was collected in the six months leading up to Dec. 31 from retaliatory tariffs on imported American steel, aluminum and other products.

Canada didn’t start this tariff spat, and from the prime minister on down every Canadian official says he or she wishes it would end. The tariffs on both sides of the border have disrupted supply chains and added extra costs for consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries. Continue Reading →

Column: Global aluminium production growth brakes sharply – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – January 24, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Global aluminium production grew at its slowest pace in a decade in 2018, and most of that was in the first half of the year. Output totalled 64.34 million tonnes, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), up by just 1.5 percent on 2017. Production did no more than flat-line over the second half of 2018.

It was the weakest production performance since 2009, when the industry was battered by the global financial crisis, a collapse in prices and multiple smelter closures. Even China, the world’s dominant producer, ran out of expansion steam last year with growth of 1.6 percent, while the rest of the world managed just 1.4 percent.

For the world outside China it was a year of unusually high disruption rates but for smelters everywhere the real problem is price. As articulated by U.S. producer Alcoa last week, at current prices some 30-40 percent of the world’s smelters are losing money. Continue Reading →

Biting the bullet, not the dust: Deripaska gives up his aluminium empire – by Polina Devitt, Anastasia Lyrchikova and Katya Golubkova (Reuters U.K. – December 20, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The U.S. decision to lift sanctions on Russia’s Rusal (0486.HK), the world’s top aluminium producer outside China, is widely seen as a Christmas present for the company, global consumers of its metal, and the Russian stock market.

But its co-owner and founder Oleg Deripaska will have mixed feelings, as the deal means giving up control of his prized aluminium empire and then seeing it return to business as usual while he remains blacklisted alongside drug lords.

It’s a challenge for Deripaska, once Russia’s richest man, as he has never before sold a major asset. He started building his empire during the 1990s “aluminium wars” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, waging several battles with rivals. Continue Reading →

Alcoa Cuts More Aluminum Output in Quebec – by Joe Deaux and Sandrine Rastello (Bloomberg News – December 19, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Alcoa Corp. will further curtail production at a Canadian smelter as the biggest U.S. aluminum producer faces a shortage of workers amid a dispute with unionized workers and the impact of U.S. tariffs on shipments of the metal.

The Pittsburgh-based company said it will curtail half of the one operating potline’s 138,000 metric ton capacity at its majority-owned Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. smelter in Quebec. Alcoa attributed the cut to recent departures and retirements of salaried employees, who were already working extra shifts since the producer locked out more than 1,000 union employees on Jan. 11.

The move is the latest twist in a labor dispute that started over pensions and recruitment rules, but turned into a deadlock that shut the smelter’s two other potlines. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst Andrew Cosgrove estimated that the lockout at Becancour could curtail 280 000 t this year from the global market. Continue Reading →

Commentary: U.S. tariffs fail to dent Chinese aluminium export surge – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – December 11, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission has just slapped anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese common aluminium alloy sheet. It’s another brick in the trade wall being erected by the Trump administration as it seeks to insulate domestic manufacturers from the flood of what it deems unfairly subsidised Chinese products.

U.S. imports of Chinese alloy sheet surged by 731 percent between 2007 and 2017, with Chinese product accounting for nearly 40 percent of total imports last year, according to the U.S. Aluminum Association.

The latest action builds on similar penal duties imposed on imports of Chinese foil and the broader “Section 232” tariffs on all imports of aluminium and steel. However, China’s exports of aluminium products are still accelerating, with outbound flows on track to set a new record this year. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 3-U.S. locks in duties on Chinese aluminum sheet imports (Reuters U.K. – December 7, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it made a final determination that American producers were being harmed by imports of common alloy aluminum sheet products from China, a finding that locks in duties on the products.

The ITC determination means that duties ranging from 96.3 percent to 176.2 percent previously announced by the U.S. Commerce Department would be put in place for five years. The department said last month the products were being subsidized and dumped in the U.S. market.

The decision marked the first time that final duties were issued in a trade remedy case initiated by the U.S. government since 1985. Usually, trade cases are launched based on a complaint from a U.S. producer or group of producers. Continue Reading →

Kitimat: a century of boom and bust: The heady dreams of a 50,000 population city turned out to be just that – by Walter Thorne (Northern Sentinel – December 1, 2018)

Northern Sentinel

By 1950 there wasn’t much happening when you looked northwest across Douglas Channel from Kitamaat Mission. It was still rather quiet, pristine and devoid of human presence. Even the pioneer ranchers of the estuary had all disappeared, leaving only a few buildings and artifacts.

The five hundred or so souls of Kitimaat Village had it all to themselves. But a new development scheme had been proposed and the Haisla were about to witness one of the most rapid and profound transformations to the landscape ever seen in B.C. – the Alcan project.

Development of the aluminum smelter and accompanying town got underway in April 1951 when the first barges and towboats arrived with pile drivers and bulldozers. But while this was to be the grand-daddy of all booms, it was not the valley’s first. The first was five decades earlier in 1900 when developer Charles Clifford began to promote Kitamaat in earnest, describing its harbour as the finest on the Pacific seaboard without exception. In 1903 Clifford was elected MLA for Skeena and continued to be an avid promoter of Kitimat. Continue Reading →

Rusal appoints CEO, third-quarter profit up as sanctions postponed (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

HONG KONG/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian aluminum giant Rusal (0486.HK) has appointed a chief executive, it said on Monday, after reporting a 42 percent jump in third-quarter recurring net profit on the previous quarter as sanctions imposed by Washington were postponed.

The U.S. Treasury Department in April blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including aluminum exporter Rusal, citing “malign activities” by Russia.

The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, have been postponed several times as the United States considers excluding Rusal from the U.S. blacklist if Deripaska drops his control over the company. The deadline was last extended to Dec. 12. Continue Reading →

China’s Cosco Plans to Buy 25 Ships to Move Bauxite from Africa – by Costas Paris (Wall Street Journal – November 2, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/

Chinese Cosco Shipping Cop. is in talks with shipyards in China to order about 25 massive ships that will move bauxite from the West African country of Guinea for aluminum production in China, people involved in the matter said.

The move is part of a plan by state behemoth Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) to invest $700 million in Guinea’s Boffa project for a steady supply of the commodity over the next decade. Cosco is looking to add to its fleet on the back of a long-term contract with Chalco to move aluminum to China.

Guinea is a hotbed of mining activity in recent months as aluminum firms from the U.S., China and Russia, try to carve out a piece of its massive bauxite-ore deposits used to produce alumina and aluminum. About seven billion metric tons, or a quarter of the world’s bauxite resources, are estimated to be in Guinea. Continue Reading →

Trump Reviewing Tariffs on Canada Steel and Aluminum, Craft Says – by Josh Wingrove and Bryce Baschuk (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – October 26, 2018)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — The U.S., Canada and Mexico remain at odds over metals tariffs, with Donald Trump’s envoy to Canada saying the president is reviewing them.

Trump’s ambassador, Kelly Craft, argued Friday the levies on steel and aluminum imports were designed to prevent overseas metal from entering America via its neighbors.

“That is not something that is against Canada,” Craft said at an event near Niagara Falls with Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton. “It’s just protecting North America from other countries that will be passing raw materials through, and also to protect our steel industry at home.” Continue Reading →