Archive | Steel and Stainless Steel Industries

Chinese steelmaking sparks mini-revival for ailing coal industry – by Josh Siegel (Washington Examiner – February 6, 2018)

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/

Consol Energy saw a record year at its coal export terminal in Baltimore in 2017, serving ships bound for Asia and Europe. The company mined some of the coal itself from its three sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, mostly in the form of traditional thermal — or steam — coal, used for electricity generation.

But much of the coal came from other U.S. companies mining lesser-known metallurgical — or coking — coal, the high-temperature type used in steelmaking. It’s this type of coal, marked for export, that sparked a mini-revival for the downtrodden industry last year.

“We expect globally coal will continue to be cost-effective and prevalent,” said Jim McCaffrey, Consol’s senior vice president of marketing, in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “We will see some lumpy years. No doubt about that. But our cost picture puts us in a great position to ride out bad times and enjoy the good times.” Continue Reading →

GRAPHIC-China demand and tight supplies set to sustain nickel price rally – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – January 30, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – A combination of surging China imports, tighter supplies and fund interest are expected to sustain prices of stainless steel ingredient nickel, which have reached their highest level in more than two years.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange hit $14,040 a tonne on Monday, the highest since May 2015 and a gain of more than 55 percent since June.

“The fundamental story for nickel has started off well and it is looking good for at least the next couple of years,” said Wood Mackenzie analyst Adrian Gardner. Wood Mackenzie forecasts a deficit of between 80,000-90,000 tonnes this year following a deficit of similar levels in 2017. Continue Reading →

Commerce secretary gives Trump options to fight steel and aluminum dumping, including higher tariffs – by Lori Ann LaRocco (CNBC – January 22, 2018)

https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has recommended to President Donald Trump a wide range of options to deal with aluminum and steel dumping in the U.S., including potentially higher tariffs, sources told CNBC.

The options also include specifically targeting “bad actors” in other countries that are active in imports of the metals. Trump and his administration announced the Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum in April 2017. The investigation was to determine whether the imports posed a threat to the country’s national security.

Trump has 90 days to review the so-called 232 report’s findings and recommendations. The president would then decide on what course of action to take. Continue Reading →

[Canada’s Stelco] Can This 107-Year-Old Steelmaker Be Brought Back to Life? – by Kristine Owram (Bloomberg News – December 5, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Winter is coming and Stelco Holdings Inc.’s steel plant on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie is stocking up for the stormy months ahead. Iron ore from Minnesota and Appalachian coal are streaming off ships on conveyor belts toward the blast furnace and coke ovens. Behind the docks, 25-ton coils of steel are lined up for shipment, still radiating heat three days after they were produced.

After decades of crisis, a renewed sense of purpose has settled over the 107-year-old company, which just completed the first initial public offering of a North American steelmaker in seven years. The question hanging over the reinvigorated enterprise is whether Stelco is finally on the cusp of sustained profitability, or whether it will wilt in an industry dominated by global giants and cheap Asian producers.

In the pantheon of great Canadian corporate names, Stelco doesn’t exactly scream confidence. The Hamilton, Ontario-based Steel Company of Canada was once the country’s biggest producer, with a workforce of 25,000 in the 1970s. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China trims appetite for coal imports, but prices hold up – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – December 4, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 4 (Reuters) – There are indications that China’s appetite for imported coal may be starting to ease in line with Beijing’s efforts to limit the use of the fuel over winter in a bid to lower air pollution.

China’s seaborne imports were 18.26 million tonnes in November, down from 20 million in October, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.

It’s the fourth consecutive monthly decline for seaborne coal imports, according to the data, and it comes as the authorities impose productions cuts on coal-consuming industries such as steel. Continue Reading →

Glencore Sees Nickel in Best Shape in Decade Before EVs Take Off – by Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Glencore Plc is seeing the best market conditions for nickel in at least a decade, and electric cars are barely playing a part yet.

The miner and trading giant expects nickel’s 2017 deficit at 170,000 metric tons — one of the biggest in years and more than most market estimates — driven by a 9 percent demand increase from the steel industry, the top user. The market is tightening amid falling stockpiles and rising premiums for physical deliveries, said Owen Gibbs, a senior nickel trader at Glencore.

Prices recently hit a two-year high amid forecasts from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. that an electric-vehicle boom will boost demand for battery metals in the next decade.
Glencore also expects a strong lift in nickel consumption from electric cars, but not materially until 2020. Once that happens, miners will struggle to keep up with faster usage, Gibbs said. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Nickel loses its electric car fizz, realises it’s still a steel play – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 20, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The nickel market is learning that there is a difference in believing you are the next big thing in battery metals and the reality that you are actually still beholden to the Chinese steel sector.

Nickel was one of the darlings at last month’s annual London Metal Exchange Week, with everybody from producers, to traders and consumers talking up its prospects on the back of the expected surge in electric vehicles.

The euphoria helped drive benchmark LME nickel to a more than two-year closing high of $12,920 a tonne on Nov. 6, but since then the price has stumbled. Continue Reading →

China’s Quest for Clean Air Is Shaking Up Industry and Inflation (Bloomberg News – November 20, 2017)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The great Chinese environmental cleanup, now in full swing, is shifting the corporate landscape in unexpected ways and even stoking inflationary pressure that may soon be felt in supply chains worldwide.

As President Xi Jinping’s government intensifies the fight against the country’s world-class pollution problem, companies are scrambling to adapt to tighter regulation while investing in cleaner energy.

In industries from steel to textiles and consumer goods, the resulting shakeout has left the survivors with far more pricing power. That in turn is reinforcing the already-resurgent factory prices that contribute to global inflation. Continue Reading →

Nickel Supply Rush Seen Cooling Rally Before Batteries Boost (Bloomberg News – November 13, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Forget electric vehicles for now. Nickel must first contend with a new wave of supply from Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as a Chinese stainless steel market that’s at risk of slowing after a two-year boom.

The metal climbed to the highest level this month since June 2015, lifted by predictions of a jump in demand from electric vehicles. But prices have since retreated as the boost from new energy autos lies several years in the future and investors reset their focus on more immediate concerns.

Batteries will represent only 3 percent of demand this year, compared with the two-thirds used in stainless steel, according to the International Nickel Study Group. Continue Reading →

China to cancel a third of iron ore mining rights in fight against smog – by Muyu Xu and Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – September 27, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) – China will cancel about a third of its iron ore mining licenses, mostly belonging to small polluting mines as part of Beijing’s efforts to improve air quality, a mining association official said on Wednesday.

Over 1,000 mining rights will be eliminated under China’s campaign against pollution, Lei Pingxi, chief engineer at the Metallurgical Mines’ Association of China, told an industry conference.

“Some small miners who didn’t pay attention to environmental issues simply closed down temporarily to cope with inspections,” said Lei. “However, these small miners will be forced to upgrade their production processes in order to survive, otherwise they will be cleared out.” Continue Reading →

Unfair Trade, Uncertainty Killing American Aluminum And Steel – by Leo W. Gerard (Huffington Post – September 26, 2017)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Kameen Thompson started his workday Sept. 15 thinking that his employer, ArcelorMittal in Conshohocken, Pa., the largest supplier of armored plate to the U.S. military, might hire some workers to reduce a recent spate of overtime.

Just hours later, though, he discovered the absolute opposite was true.

ArcelorMittal announced that, within a year, it would idle the mill that stretches half a mile along the Schuylkill River. Company officials broke the bad news to Kameen, president of the United Steelworkers (USW) local union at Conshohocken, and Ron Davis, the grievance chair, at a meeting where the two union officers had hoped to hear about hiring.

ArcelorMittal wouldn’t say when it would begin the layoffs or how many workers would lose their jobs or which mill departments would go dark. The worst part for everyone now is the uncertainty, Kameen told me last week. Continue Reading →

Makeover for world’s oldest city drives India steel recovery – by Swansy Afonso (Hamilton Spectator – August 30, 2017)

https://www.thespec.com

The world’s oldest living city is getting a makeover. Varanasi, Hinduism’s holiest site on the Ganges River in northern India, is one of 100 places earmarked to receive trillions of rupees to transform their aging infrastructure and become ‘Smart Cities,’ replete with affordable housing, improved sanitation, and better transportation.

To build it all, India plans to triple its steel-making capacity, making it the world’s second-biggest producer, trumping Japan, and reviving an industry that a year ago was on its knees.

“India is one of the bright spots for the global steel industry,” said Bijoy Thomas, a senior analyst at India Ratings & Research, the local unit of Fitch Ratings, by phone from New Delhi. “We have a very low base of per-capita consumption and the nation is on the path to development.” Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Port stocks the growing elephant in the room for iron ore prices – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – August 7, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Chinese steel and iron ore prices continue to rise in lock-step. In Shanghai today the most active steel rebar contract went limit-up, surging 7 percent to 4,013 yuan per ($597) per tonne, its highest level since April 2013. Where Shanghai steel leads, Dalian iron ore follows.

The most-traded contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped as much as 7.3 percent to 587.50 yuan per tonne at one stage, its highest level since March 21. And where Dalian leads, the rest of the iron ore world follows. On the Singapore Exchange the cash contract has just punched up through the $77-per tonne level, also for the first time since March.

There is much speculative froth in this mix. Market open interest on both Shanghai steel and Dalian iron ore hit record highs last month and is still at historically elevated levels. However, this is not just irrational exuberance. Continue Reading →

Minnesota Grand Rapids ore will make pig iron in Ohio – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – August 1, 2017)

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Iron ore concentrate from Minnesota will go to make pig iron in Lorain, Ohio under a deal reached between fledgling ERP Iron Ore and Republic Steel.

Under the agreement ERP will produce concentrated ore at its recently acquired Magnetation operations outside Grand Rapids, move it by rail to its Reynolds, Ind. plant to be baked into pellets and then ship those pellets to Ohio to be made into pig iron.

The two companies will be joint owners of the new pig-iron plant to be built on the site of a now-shuttered Republic blast furnace mill. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Already Spooking Buyers of Foreign Steel, Cliffs Says – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – July 27, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

President Donald Trump’s pledge to safeguard U.S. steelmakers from cheap overseas shipments is already working even as hopes fade of an imminent announcement of measures.

At least that’s what Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves says is happening as buyers shy away from imported steel in case the White House hands down restrictions that would invoke retroactive penalties. The ensuing increase in demand for domestic metal is allowing U.S. producers to push up prices, he said in a telephone interview.

“We are seeing that happening right now,” said Goncalves, whose company sells iron ore to U.S. mills. “Right now there’s a lot of people who are scared.” Continue Reading →