May 3

May Metals News


US Steel Imports Rise In April

US steel mill imports look to rise by more than 16% from March to April. Importers are attempting to beat the Section 232 steel import tariffs.

As reported by the AMM,

The US was licensed to import 3.5 million tonnes of steel last month, up 16.6% from the preliminary total of 3 million tonnes in March and a 15.8% increase from 3.04 million tonnes in April of last year, according to data updated on Tuesday May 1 by the US Commerce Department’s Enforcement and Compliance division.

It would seem rising imports indicate a rush to move steel into the market before supply drops post-232. The Section 232 tariff on steel imports has been levied against some countries since March 22. While President Donald Trump’s administration has delayed imposing the tariffs against the European Union, Canada and Mexico until June 1.

In addition, permanent exemptions are in place for Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Furthermore, South Korea has agreed to quotas in exchange for an exemption.

AMM states, “Hot-dipped galvanized sheet, line pipe, reinforcing bar and hot-rolled bar were among the categories to record substantial gains in April versus the prior month, the Commerce data show.”

Recent impact on pricing has been small because domestic producers are holding on to recent price hikes. Also steel prices face downward pressure from low summer demand and increased domestic supply. But pricing could be affected as the supply moves through the supply chain.

232 Deadline Extended For Canada, Mexico and EU

The United States extended the deadline for Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the EU, until June 1.

As reported by the AMM,

President Donald Trump’s administration announced the extension of temporary exemptions for the key trading blocs at the last moment on Monday April 30. A 10% import tax on aluminum and a 25% import tax on steel were due to come into effect on Tuesday.

Because the US is a major importer of steel and aluminum, metal for nearby delivery prices has been substantially priced up.

AMM states, “US Midwest delivered premiums for P1020 commodity grade aluminum have risen by 135% since the start of the year and were averaging 22.25 cents per lb as of April 27.

US hot-rolled coil prices are close to their highest levels in seven years.

US Aluminum Industry Reacts After Extension

The US aluminum industry is reacting to President Donald Trump’s extension of the deadline for temporary exemptions. The deadline for exemptions from the Section 232 aluminum tariffs was extended to June 1. The industry is looking for certainty from the US government.

The AMM reports,

Industry groups reacted with cautious optimism following the announcement of the exemption extension on Tuesday, although they are divided on what they hope the Trump administration will do while deciding the fate of the European Union, Canada and Mexico regarding a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum.

The Aluminum Association sees the President’s decision as a positive move, but they are looking for more market certainty.

The Aluminum Association wants the government to enact permanent exemptions for “responsible trading partners.” They warn the tariffs “increase incentives for China to ramp up its illegally subsidized overcapacity.”

There is a possibility the Trump administration will push for quotas in lieu of tariffs. As a result, depending on the quota strictness, supply tightness could occur in the US.

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