Rare earth supply chain from the United States to Europe; price of copper; starts
Here’s a quick look at news and thoughts on particular commodity markets, including copper prices, US housing starts, an emerging EU-US rare earth supply chain, and more.
MetalMiner, one of our sister sites, is scouring the landscape for what matters. This week:
Copper prices fall
Gobitz also looked at copper inventory levels.
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âSince the start of the year, there have been concerns about copper production levels and inventory availability,â she wrote.
âThe tonnages under the LME mandate were at the level of 100,000 / mt, with an average of 84,654 metric tonnes between January and June. However, throughout the month of June, the stock tonnage almost doubled. Inventory tonnage started the month at 97,975 tonnes and closed at 198,275 tonnes.
âThis could be a signal that speculative demand has adjusted. This is especially true after China tried to suppress excessive speculation by issuing stern warnings in the domestic market, as well as the recent release of shares in the State.”
Steel in China
Meanwhile, MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns focused on the state of the Chinese steel market.
âOn the one hand, a robust recovery from the pandemic has supported rapid increases in prices, both of raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal,â he wrote. âPrices for finished steel, like rebar and HR coils, have also gone up.
“But Beijing’s recent policy initiatives to cut steel production and control greenhouse gas emissions have created new momentum that should support steel prices pending production. reduced, while lowering commodity prices pending a reduction in demand for commodities. “
Fall in construction spending, rise in housing starts
Construction spending in the United States hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 1,545.3 billion in May, the Census Bureau reported earlier this month. The rate for May marked a decline of 0.3% from the previous month, but an increase of 7.5% year over year.
Meanwhile, construction spending in the first five months of the year totaled $ 594.8 billion, up 4.6% year-over-year.
Housing starts, meanwhile, hit 1.57 million in May, up 3.6% from April.
European aluminum producers want CBAM excluded
In Europe, aluminum producers are asking for an exemption from the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM).
CBAM, the EU argues, will serve as an incentive for non-EU producers to produce greener aluminum.
“According to a Financial Times report this week, European aluminum producers are calling for the exclusion of the EU’s first phase of CBAM,” Burns wrote. “They claim the plan will put the industry at a competitive disadvantage relative to its foreign rivals. They claim it will encourage companies to direct their low-carbon production to Europe and simply sell their production. high carbon elsewhere.
“As such, the net effect will be a small global reduction in carbon emissions, but significant competitive damage to domestic European producers, whose own carbon footprint may not be as small as that of these foreign competitors.”
ATI and Steelworkers reach agreement to end strike
Meanwhile, in late March, workers at United Steel announced that workers would go on strike at nine facilities at Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI).
After three months, the parties announced a provisional agreement to end the strike, which they later ratified on July 13.
The agreement “increases wages, provides lump sum payments and protects affordable, high-quality health care for current and future workers,” the union said.
In addition, the union said 1,300 Steelworkers would begin returning to work on or before July 18.
EU-US rare earth supply chain
Finally, the EU and the United States, among others in the world, have long sought to reduce their dependence on China for rare earths.
Although not really rare, China dominates the overwhelming majority of global rare earth processing and mining. Rare earths are used in a variety of high-tech capabilities, including renewable energy installations, automobiles, and defense.
So, while in its infancy, two companies recently announced a partnership that will focus on an EU-US rare earth supply chain.
Energy fuels inc. and NÃ©o Performance Materials Inc. announced that they have completed the first shipment of mixed rare earth carbonate from a plant in Utah to a separation facility in Estonia.
Energy Fuels said on July 7 that the first shipment of around 20 metric tonnes of mixed rare earth carbonate was on its way to its destination in Estonia.
The shipment is the first of 15 expected containers of the material to be sent to the rare earth separation facility.
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