The Week in Metals: Aluminum Trade Orgs Get Serious About Chinese Capacity

aluminum Pavel Losevsky/Adobe Stock

This week in metals, the Aluminum Extruders Council joined Century Aluminum, Brazeway, and the United Steelworkers in the China Trade Task Force’s (CTTF) call for action to remedy problems caused by excess Chinese capacity.

Chinese aluminum overcapacity leapfrogged steel overcapacity in recent weeks after a huge Chinese stockpile of metal was seen in Mexico and its purchasing trail went back to China Zhongwang.

Copper Capacity Might Be Going Down

In another example of how difficult it has become to tell just how much metal is out there, especially in China, there was word this week that copper exports have slowed and imports have picked up in the People’s Republic after the price plunged to 12-month lows last month.

Reuters suggested this was due to price declines taking copper into territory where investors once again feel it is oversold and, on the back of a pick-up in demand after the summer, ripe for restocking. Local prices in China are still below global prices, meaning traders take a loss when they import metal.

Just a few days ago it looked as if levels of exports from China were a symptom of oversupply and changes in London Metal Exchange storage costs and hedging opportunities. Now it looks like investor and user demand might actually be up. And if we wait a few more days, that all may change again.

Steel Tariffs Upheld

The U.S. International Trade upheld most of the recent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on hot-rolled flat steel imports from Australia, Brazil, the U.K., Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Turkey on Monday.

Hot-rolled steel flat products from the six nations will continue to require cash deposits of 6%–7% upon import to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

India Asks WTO To Remove U.S. Solar Subsidies

If turnabout truly is fair play, then India might just have one on the U.S. In 2015 the U.S. successfully argued at the World Trade Organization that buy-local subsidies for India’s major solar projects unfairly subsidized India solar manufacturers. Now, India is asking the WTO to end local subsidies by eight U.S. states that, it says, unfairly discriminate against Indian solar panel manufacturers.

We previously wrote that the U.S. might not have wanted to win that 2015 WTO case.

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