The Week in Direct Materials: Oil Prices, China, Steel, and NAFTA

oil oversupply OPEC John Borda/Adobe Stock

What more can one ask for, really?

As oil prices flirted with $55/barrel this week, U.S. shale drillers expanded production and most metals saw their prices rise as energy and transportation costs went up, too.

Meanwhile, in China…

Power costs aren’t as much of a concern for Chinese smelters because, as MetalMiner co-founder Stuart Burns explained, they’ve taken advantage of close proximity to manufacturers there to make molten aluminum — no refiring — their, umm, hottest product. Sorry.

Speaking of China, How About Those Steel Prices?

Managing Editor Taras Berezowsky sat down with the American Iron and Steel Association’s SVP and General Counsel, Kevin Dempsey, to chat about what China’s ambitions to achieve market economy status would mean to the U.S. steel industry. Dempsey was actually one of the attorneys who worked on China’s initial acceptance into the WTO, so he would know.


AISI Does Support NAFTA, Though

We talked with AISI a lot this week. During the steel industry group’s media conference call, AISI President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson said the group still supports the North American Free Trade Agreement, even though Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump is running, with some degree of success in states with large steel plants, on reopening and renegotiating NAFTA. We can’t wait for election season to end.

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