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Commerce Department self-initiates, alleged dumping margin 57-60%

Industrials (/lb): aluminum $0.94 ( 0.0%), copper $3.02 ( 0.0%), lead $1.05( 0.0%), molybdenum $7.14 ( 0.0%); nickel $5.21 ( 0.0%); zinc $1.39 ( 0.0%);Precious (/oz): gold $1,308 ( 1.3%), silver $17.44 ( 2.2%); Steel (/mt): ChinaHRC $622 (-0.6%), SHFE Rebar $587 (-0.7%), MB Scrap Index $347 ( 0.0%);Bulks: iron ore (/dmt) $77 (-1.6%), coking coal (/mt) $208 ( 2.4%), freight (BCI)2,406 ( 0.0%); Energy: Brent (/bbl) $51.89 (-1.0%), WTI (/bbl) $46.57 (-2.7%),natural gas (/mmBtu) $2.93 ( 1.1%), thermal coal (/t) $98 (-0.9%).

Industrials (/lb): aluminum $0.99 ( 1.4%), copper $3.18 (-0.4%), lead $1.13( 0.8%), molybdenum $7.14 ( 0.0%); nickel $5.38 (-1.1%); zinc $1.45 ( 0.4%);Precious (/oz): gold $1,277 ( 0.0%), silver $16.95 ( 0.4%); Steel (/mt): ChinaHRC $632 (0.0%), SHFE Rebar $563 ( 0.2%), MB Scrap Index $295 ( 0.0%);Bulks: iron ore (/dmt) $62 (-0.3%), coking coal (/mt) $178 ( 0.0%), freight (BCI)3,202 ( 0.0%); Energy: Brent (/bbl) $58.44 ( 0.2%), WTI (/bbl) $52.18 (-0.6%),natural gas (/mmBtu) $2.92 (-1.8%), thermal coal (/t) $97 (-0.1%).


    Typically, antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) begin after petitionsare filed by a domestic industry reacting to imports that are either 'dumped' or'unfairly subsidized'. However, in this case, the Commerce Department (CD) hasbegun an investigation against common alloy aluminum sheet based on its ownevidence that China's exports may be materially injuring, or threatening materialinjury to, the common alloy sheet industry in the US. This is the first time a selfinitiationhas occurred in 26years. While the CD investigates dumping marginsof 56.54-59.72%, the International Trade Commission's (ITC) will conduct its owninvestigation. The ITC's preliminary determination is expected by January 16,2018. If the ITC determines injury or a threat of injury, the CD investigationscan continue. A preliminary CVD determination is scheduled for February 2018and a preliminary AD determination is scheduled for April 2018. If the CD findsdumping or unfair subsidization has occurred, US Customs and Border Protectioncan collect cash deposits from companies importing the subject aluminum sheetfrom China. Final determinations by the CD are scheduled for April 2018for CVD,and July 2018for the AD.

    US steel industry assesses damage from Hurricane Harvey, which has struckthe Port of Houston Authority (POHA), the busiest port for steel imports. USSteel’s Offshore Operations Houston facility has been impacted as flooding hasclosed the railways leading to the plant. Market participants expect damage tothe steel stored in warehouses and some delays in shipments due to theshutdown of the port. Impact of the hurricane not completely assessed yet assome areas are still inaccessible due to flooding. (SBB)China plans to shut 6,000 non-coal mines by 2020 to reduce mining deathsand accidents, per State Administration of Work Safety. More than 500 peoplehave died in non-coal mining accidents in 2015 and Beijing aims to reducecausalities going forward by improving legislation and intensifying mineinspections. 37k illegal non-coal mines were operating in 2015. (Mining.com)US Department of Commerce sets preliminary countervailing duties of 1.7%-44.2% on carbon and alloy steel wire rod imports from Italian producers.

    Nickel deficit expected to deepen as Electric Vehicle (EV) market expands.


    What is common alloy aluminum sheet?

    Turkish producers received 0-2.27%. Nucor was one of the US rod producerswho had petitioned the government for the investigation on March 28. Finalrate determinations to be announced in November, post which USInternational Trade Commission will make its final injury determinations. (SBB)US steel production declines 1.3% WoW to 1.74m st ( 5.1% YoY), withutilization at 74.6% (-100 bps WoW, 380 bps YoY) for the week ending 8/26,mainly on lower output from North East and Great Lakes. YTD output totaled~59m st ( 3% YoY), with utilization at 74.6% ( 240 bps YoY). (AISI)Vale exercise right to redeem $1bn 5.625% guaranteed notes due 2019 andcommences cash tender offer to purchase $750m 4.625% guaranteed notesdue 2020. Tender Offer for 2020 Notes to expire on September 27. (Company)Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) agrees to divest 51% stake to government inGrasberg copper and gold mine, Indonesia. Timing and price of the stake is yetto be worked out. In return, Indonesia will allow FCX to immediately apply for a10-year permit extension beyond 2021 and secure a second extension before2031. FCX has also agreed to build a second smelter to meet government’srequirement of processing more ore domestically. Currently, it exports 67% ofcopper concentrate produced at Grasberg and processes 33% domestically.

    Sales of passenger EV’s expected to rise from 2.4m in 2016 to 14.2m in 2025,which implies an increase from 26 GWh to 215 GWh in battery terms. Nickeldemand in EV batteries is expected to increase from 40kt in 2016 to 220kt in2025, with total demand reaching 275kt if other battery applications areincluded. However, current supply is not suitable for battery applications,suggesting that increasing demand could lead to a deficit. (Wood Mackenzie).

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    The sheet under investigation is typically used in construction (gutters anddownspouts), transportation (trailers, traffic signs and license plates) and kitchenappliances. More specifically the imports under investigation are flat-rolledaluminum having thickness of 0.2-6.3mm, in coils or cut-to-length. Excluded fromthe investigation is aluminum can stock (used in beverage cans production). In2016, 275kt (607m lbs) of common alloy sheet was imported from China and wasvalued at $604m. Year to date through September imports have grown to 279kt(615m lbs, 34% YoY), if annualized this would indicate 35% YoY growth to 372kt(820m lbs).

    CEO Richard Adkerson, emphasized that divestment and smelter constructionare “major concessions”. We value 100% of PT-FI at $12.1bn. (Reuters, DB)

    US Commerce Department sets preliminary antidumping duties of 3-148% onsteel wire rod imports from Italy (22%), Korea (10%), South Africa (135-142%),Spain (20-33%), Turkey (3-8%), Ukraine (35-44%) and the UK (42-148%). YTD(thru August) wire rod imports from these countries were 0.4m st (34% of total),representing 16% market share. Next final determination due in January 2018.


    Possible beneficiaries

    Nucor was one of the petitioners of this probe. (SBB, DB).


    Alcoa, Arconic, Constellium and Kaiser Aluminum all have the ability to producethe commodity grade aluminum sheet under investigation. However, eachcurrently produces negligible, if any, amounts of the material. We believe importsfrom other countries could replace lost imports from China, rather than domesticproducers seeing entire benefit. Primary aluminum producers (Alcoa and CenturyAluminum) are unlikely to benefit on a volume basis, but could see improvedregional premia pricing.

    South African government keen to get all mining parties back to negotiatingand finding a solution for Mining Charter 3.0, which has been postponed toDecember. The Chamber of Mines had filed a court bid to stall theimplementation of the charter and Mineral Resources Minister, Mr. MosebenziZwane had agreed not to implement the charter until judgment on the matteris handed down by a court. Elevated operating costs and uncertainty related tothe Charter continue to constrain growth and Finance Minister, Mr. MalusiGigaba, reiterated the urgency to “find common ground” between thegovernment and mining companies for devising a Charter that attractedinvestment. (Mining Weekly).

WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2017) — By a 3-2 vote, the U.S. International Trade Commission has made a negative determination on whether the domestic truck and bus tire industry has suffered MATerial injury beCAuse of Chinese imports.

    US Hot-Rolled Coil (HRC) price slips $3/st WoW to $578/st. HR and Cold-RolledCoil (CRC) spread fell $7/st to $188/st. However, with the announced ~$40-60/st hike, prices are likely to trend higher in coming weeks. NYMEX Dec 2017forward HRC price rose $17/st WoW to $627/st on 10/25. (CRU, CME, DB).

The ITC vote means that the U.S. Department of Commerce will not order U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect antidumping and countervailing duties from Chinese truck and bus tire manufacturers and importers.

    US preliminary steel imports decreased 10% MoM to 3.1m st in September (-1% vs permits, 10% YoY). Finished steel imports were 2.4m st (flat MoM, 15% YoY), with coated sheets declining the most MoM (-65kt, -15%),followed by CRC (-36kt, -14%) offset by higher line pipes ( 72kt, 35%) and oilcountry tubular goods ( 60kt, 23%). Import share estimated at 27% inSeptember (~28% YTD), with total and finished steels annualizing to 39m st( 20% YoY) and 30m st ( 15%). (US Census Bureau, DB).

ITC Vice Chairman David B. Johanson and Commissioners Meredith M. BroADBEnt and F. Scott Kieff voted against a finding of material injury, whereas Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein and Commissioner Irving A. Williamson voted in the affirmative. Commissioner Dean A. PiNKErt did not participate in the vote.

The United Steelworkers union petitioned the ITC in January 2016, requesting antidumping and countervailing duty relief protection from Chinese truck and bus tire imports under Sections 701 and 731 of the Trade Act.

The ITC made a preliminary determination of material injury in March, and the Commerce Department issued final antidumping duties against Chinese tire makers ranging from 9 to 22.57 percent on Jan. 23.

On the same day, Commerce levied final countervailing duties ranging from 38.61 to 65.46 percent. On Feb. 14, after reviewing its calculations, the agency lowered the countervailing duties against Double Coin HoldinGS Ltd. to 20.98 from 38.61 percent. The duties against Guizhou Tyre Co. Ltd. were lowered slightly, to 63.34 from 65.46 percent.

Cooper Tire &Rubber Co., which manufactures all its truck and bus tires in China, approved the decision.

“Cooper supports free and fair trade, and we are pleased with the ITC’s determination,” the tire maker said.

Walter Weller, senior vice president, strategic accounts at China Manufacturers Alliance L.L.C. , also said he was pleased with the ITC’s decision. CMA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Double Coin and the domestic DIStributor of Double Coin tires.

“Anybody considering all the facts, including the record profits for American manufacturers and their inability to even come close to satisfying domestic truck and bus tire demand, would have to conclude that this was the right thing to do,” Mr. Weller said.

USW International President Leo W. Gerard condemned the decision.

“The ITC commissioners made a huge mistake,” Mr. Gerard said in a press release. “While the Department of Commerce identified subsidies of up to more than 60 percent and dumping of up to almost 23 percent, the ITC failed to support relief for the injured workers.

“That simply ignores the facts and the harm that Chinese unfairly traded exports have caused the workers,” he said.

Other recent USW petitions to the ITC met with more success.

In July 2015, the ITC voted 3-3 to find that Chinese passenger and light truck tire imports were causing material injury to the U.S. passenger and light truck tire industry. Commerce assessed countervailing duties ranging from 20.73 to 100.77 percent, and antidumping duties of 14.35 to 87.99 percent.

On Feb. 3, the ITC voted 5-0 to find that Indian and Sri Lankan off-the-road tire imports were causing material injury to the U.S. OTR tire industry.

The USW and Titan Tire Corp. were the petitioners. Countervailing duties levied in that case ranged from 2.18 to 5.38 percent. No antidumping duties were levied.

The ITC’s report on the Chinese truck and bus tire investigation will be posted online by March 15.


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