Trump Appointees Promise Totally Tubular Tough Trade Enforcement: The Week in Metals

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Welcome to the first Week in Metals of 2017!

Remember the ‘80s? Robert Lighthizer does because he was a deputy U.S. Trade Representative back then and he was key to the Reagan Administration stemming the tide of imports from Japan with threats of quotas and punitive tariffs. Now he’s got the top job as the U.S. Trade Rep for the incoming Trump administration and he promises a totally rad (remember, ‘80s!) set of trade actions against China. Longtime China trade critic Peter Navarro is on board as head of a new White House trade council, too.

Russia: That’s Totally Not Shale Oil

Staying on the trade theme, those always inventive Russians have found a novel way to avoid sanctions on what may be the world’s largest deposit of shale oil, an important commodity in its own right and a major energy input for metals production. Russia is no longer calling the Siberian deposit a “shale resource” at all, as it had classified it prior to 2015. It’s now “hard-to-find” oil, a brand new category that’s not covered by international sanctions stemming from the annexation of Crimea. Before April 15 I need to recategorize all my hard-to-find money so it’s not income anymore.

China’s Really Serious About Industrial Pollution This Time, You Guys

For years, Chinese cities have been choking on the smog spewing from the People’s Republic’s industrial production sector. Now, Beijing says they’re going to crack down and they’ve even increased power costs for older, dirty steel mills and smelters. Of course, Beijing has said they’d stop the pollution nearly every year this decade. Take the announcement as you will.

Brazilian Steelmakers Hike Prices

The first steel price increases of 2017 come from the world’s fifth-largest country and the biggest one in South America. Is this a harbinger for the rest of the steel markets this year? Could be. Keep tuning in to MetalMiner to follow the steel and other industrial metals markets.

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