AISI Foresees Huge Collapse in Finished Steel Imports from Turkey

Date Sep 30 2018 14:20:26 Source:Scrap monster

According to estimates provided by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the annualized total and finished steel imports by the country are likely to drop by 6.2% and 7.6% respectively in 2018, as compared with the previous year. The finished steel imports from Turkey are likely to decline the most, falling by nearly 43% year-on-year. The projections are based on the available import data for the initial eight-month period of the current year.


The AISI foresees annualized total steel imports at 35.758 million net tons (Mt) in 2018, notably down by 6.2% upon comparison with the previous year. The country’s steel imports had totaled 38.126 Mt in 2017. Also, finished steel imports are likely to decline from 29.561 Mt in 2017 to 27.312 Mt in 2018.


The imports from Turkey are likely to report substantial decline, falling by almost 43% from the previous year. The annualized imports of finished steel mill products from Turkey are likely to collapse from 2.191 Mt to 1.260 Mt. AISI also foresees 34.7% decline in imports from Brazil. On the contrary, the U.S finished steel imports from Vietnam are projected to witness 40% jump over the previous year.


The U.S. imports of wire rods are likely to witness 26.9% year-on-year decline. The other products to see huge drop in imports are Heavy Structural Shapes (-21.8%) and Cold Rolled Sheets (-19.6%). Meantime, the imports of Hot Rolled Sheets are expected to surge higher by 21.1% over the previous year.

China's environment watchdog warns polluters not to flout winter smog plan

Date Sep 29 2018 16:34:03 Source:Foreign media

China's environment ministry issued a stern warning on Saturday to companies across heavy industry not to flout the nation's tough emission rules – a move seen as quashing speculation that the 2018 winter anti-smog campaign will be more lenient.


The warning comes after the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) on Thursday dropped blanket production cuts on heavy industry across northern China in its final winter anti-pollution drive and allowed local authorities to adopt flexible measures based on regional emission levels.


Shanghai benchmark rebar prices plunged nearly 5 percent this week as investors speculated that production curbs would be relaxed further this year. 


"Pollution emitters must not take chances (on the new plan)... They will still be shut down or be ordered to enforce capacity cuts if they exceed emission standards," said Liu Youbin, MEE spokesman, at a briefing.


Liu said improved air quality last winter showed production restrictions on heavy industry, from steel mills to coke plants, helped reduce toxic air that blankets the colder northern regions during winter when households crank up heating, mainly fuelled by coal.


China will continue to carry out the curbs this year, but with more efficient measures to ensure blue skies, he said.


The yearly average concentrations of particulate matters, known as PM2.5, dropped by 35.6 percent in 2017 to 58 micrograms per cubic metre.   


Still, forecasts of warmer temperatures, lower rainfall and wind in the north compared with last year may increase smog this winter, he said.


The government has said it aims to reduce average PM2.5 reading by around 3 percent this winter from the level last year.


    Also on Saturday, Jincheng in Shanxi province became the latest city to issue its winter anti-pollution plan, telling coke makers to shut 30 percent of capacity from Oct. 1 and steel mills to cut output from Nov. 15. 

China battery firms set up $700 mln nickel joint venture in Indonesia

Date Sep 29 2018 13:39:06 Source:Foreign media

Chinese battery firm GEM Co Ltd on Friday said it was teaming up with four companies to invest a total of $700 million in a project to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Indonesia.


The investment comes as several global metals producers have also set their sights on Indonesia's nickel reserves, looking to tap an expected surge in demand for the battery metal from the electric vehicle sector.


The companies joining GEM include units of top Chinese lithium battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) and stainless steel-maker Tsingshan Holding Group.


They aim to establish nickel smelting capacity of at least 50,000 tonnes per year at Tsingshan's industrial park in Morowali on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.


The project will also have 4,000 tonnes of cobalt smelting capacity, as well as churning out a range of battery chemicals, including 50,000 tonnes per year of nickel hydroxide intermediates.


"In the future, the product structure will be adjusted according to the global market demand and the production scale will be expanded," GEM said in an emailed statement, without providing a launch date.


Japanese trading house Hanwa and Indonesia PT Bintangdelapan Group are the other firms involved in the project.


The partners will rely on Tsingshan, the biggest nickel producer in Indonesia, to provide the ore that will be processed to make the chemicals. Nickel is also used to make stainless steel.


    A Hong Kong unit of Tsingshan will hold 21 percent of the project, with GEM subsidiary Jingmen GEM owning 36 percent. Brunp, the recycling arm of CATL, will hold 25 percent, with

Hanwa on 8 percent and Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) on 10 percent. IMIP is a joint venture between Indonesia PT Bintangdelapan Group and Tsingshan.  


Shenzhen-based GEM is best known as a battery recycler but in March announced a deal to buy around one-third of Glencore's cobalt production over the next three years. It has previously been linked with a move for a stake in Vale's Goro nickel-cobalt mine in New Caledonia. 


Separately on Friday, GEM and Tsingshan held a groundbreaking ceremony for a joint-venture plant in Ningde, in southeastern China's Fujian province, which will produce 70,000 tonnes per year of battery materials.


    The plant involves initial investment of 1.85 billion yuan ($268.72 million), according to the GEM statement.

Fitch Solutions revises zinc price forecast for 2018 downwards

Date Sep 29 2018 13:36:22 Source:mining weekly

Fitch Solutions Macro Research has revised its forecast zinc price for this year down to an average $3 000/t, compared with the previously expected $3 100/t, after the zinc price fell by more than expected in the third quarter.


The decrease in the zinc price is attributable to the escalating trade dispute between the US and China, rising global protectionism, and a stronger dollar.


However, Fitch Solutions said this was mainly sentiment-driven, with zinc fundamentals remaining largely tight – less so than in 2017, but still in a deficit.


The Chinese government’s renewed support to the infrastructure sector through tax cuts and greater project approvals in the second half of this year is expected to generate stronger stainless steel, and by extension zinc, demand than experienced in the first half of the year.


As a result of this demand, the zinc deficit will deepen over the remainder of this year, despite the average deficit for 2018 being narrower than in 2017.




Up to 2022, Fitch expects zinc prices to post a gradual uptrend as markets remain in deficit and Chinese demand growth remains supported.


While the US and China trade conflict is expected to remain over the coming quarters, Chinese authorities’ response to economic headwinds in the form of renewed support to the infrastructure sector is set to continue to offset the fallout of this on investor sentiment.


Beyond 2022, the market is forecast to shift to a surplus as Chinese demand slows and prices, subsequently, trend slightly lower towards the back end of the forecast period to 2027.


The global refined zinc market is expected to remain in deficit over the coming years, owing to modest demand growth and continued ore undersupply. Zinc refiners will struggle to secure zinc concentrate on the back of production curtailments over environmental regulations.


Fitch Solutions forecasts global refined zinc production and consumption growth to average 1% and 0.6% respectively from 2018 to 2027.


The escalating trade dispute between the US and China presents a key downside risk to the company’s forecast. 

Zambia hikes mining taxes in 2019 budget to rein in debt

Date Sep 29 2018 13:35:11 Source:mining weekly

Zambia will introduce new mining duties and increase royalties to help bring down mounting debt and narrow its fiscal deficit, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said on Friday.


Presenting a 86.8-billion kwacha ($7.10-billion) budget, Mwanakatwe said Zambia planned to trim its fiscal deficit to 6.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 from 7.4% this year.


The economy of Africa's No.2 copper producer was expected to grow at least 4% in 2019, around the same level as a forecast for this year, she said.


Mwanakatwe announced plans to increase the country's sliding scale for royalties of 3% to 9% by 1.5 percentage points. The scale is adjusted so royalties are paid at higher levels as commodity prices climb and are reduced as prices fall.


A new 15% export duty on precious metals, including gold and gemstones, will be introduced, while copper and cobalt concentrate imports will incur a new 5% levy.


"As mineral resources are a depleting resource, it is vital to structure an effective fiscal regime for the mining sector to ensure that Zambians benefit from the mineral wealth our country is blessed with," Mwanakatwe said.