China’s Pain is Century Aluminum’s Gain

The main part of the article is about aluminum, how a major aluminum smelter in China had to shut down, and what that’s going to do to the aluminum market.

But the larger issue, for most stampers, is in this section. Power problems and unreliability in China are going to increase

Arif said that while the outages at Chalco’s plants are only temporary, there will start to be more power issues in China going forward. China has been subsidizing power for its users so demand for power has grown unabated, Arif said. As the costs to produce power, whether coal or other fuel, has increased, the Chinese government has spoken about increasing the power costs for institutional consumers like aluminum consumers. “That’s why you’ll start seeing a lot more of these types of power issues develop,” he said.

North American Breaker Co. Recalls Counterfeit Circuit Breakers Due to Fire Hazard

This isn’t a stamping story exactly, but many stamped products are also counterfeited in China, so it seems related to me.

The notice comes from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: Counterfeit Circuit Breakers labeled as “Square D”
Units: About 50,000
Distributor/Retailer: North American Breaker Co. Inc. (NABCO), of Burbank, Calif.
Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers labeled “Square D” have been determined by Square D to be counterfeit and can fail to trip when they are overloaded, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

China to impose or raise export tariffs on coal, steel products next year

People’s Daily Online
China will impose or raise export duties on products including wood pulp, coke, alloy steel, steel billets, and some finished steel products in 2008, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced on Friday.

The nation will also impose temporary export tariffs on coal, crude oil, and metal ores next year, the MOF stated, without providing further details.

China to Raise Tariffs on Steel, Coal Exports in January Asia
China, which produces a third of the world’s steel, will raise export tariffs on some steel products from Jan. 1 to help rein in a record trade surplus and reduce energy consumption and pollution.
It didn’t give details on new tax rates. The country will also impose export tariffs on coal, crude oil and metal ores next year, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its Web site late yesterday.
China, seeking to curb a record trade surplus, cut tax rebates and raised duties on steel shipments this year. The Asian nation’s exports have pressured rivals, leading the European Union last month to threaten tariffs to shield its producers, including ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker.

U.S. Border Fence Made with Imported Steel

This is more symbolic in some ways than substantive, but not entirely. I know someone who knows someone, etc, who is a fencemaker. He bought fence from China (you buy it in rolls, like fabric) twice, and both times, the quality was poor and he had to replace it after installation. So he won’t buy there again. I don’t know what the quality issues were, but if it makes a lousy fence, even if it’s a good price, what’s the point?

The comedian Carlos Mencia jokes about that giant fence to keep out immigrants. He says we might need immigrant labor to build it. Now lawmakers are upset that the fence includes immigrant steel. Some of the fence on the Mexican border is being built with steel from China.

Flooding In China Leaves 181 Miners Trapped

From time to time I comment on the high human cost of Chinese steel. Here we have it again. Chinese mines have the worst safety record in the world.

Heavy flooding poured into two coal mines in eastern China on Friday, leaving 181 miners trapped and feared dead. Two high-speed pumps were being rushed in to drain the flooded shafts, but officials say there’s no word on when rescuers might enter the mines.

China’s coal mines are the world’s deadliest, with thousands of fatalities a year.

Area lawmakers testify to keep tariffs on Chinese steel; Nucor called a victim

I don’t understand why anyone thinks it makes sense to impose tarifs on the raw materials coming from China and not the finished goods made from the same raw materials coming from China. All this does is cut the entire food chain out of North America and shift it all to China. Why don’t the steelmakers see it as shortsighted to cut off the legs of their customers? Why don’t the lawmakers see it either?

Nucor Corp. and other U.S. steelmakers are the victims of China’s illegal subsidization of exported steel, lawmakers testified Tuesday.

In the first day of a two-day hearing, dozens of lawmakers argued that the U.S. International Trade Commission should renew five-year punitive tariffs on hot-rolled flat carbon steel imported from China and 10 other countries. China was the main target.



US strip mill transaction prices softened further over the last month as scrap costs continued to slide. The downturn is most apparent in the hot rolled category. Real consumption has remained lacklustre, causing service centre inventory depletion to take much longer to complete than was initially envisaged. Delivery lead times quoted by domestic mills have reduced to four weeks or less in some instances.

Copper May Fall Next Week on Speculation China Demand Will Slow

Copper may fall next week on speculation that demand will slow in China, the largest buyer of the metal, following a surge in imports in the first quarter.

Yahoo Asia:
copper rebounded on Friday, but analysts think the overall trend of rising copper stocks and lower demand over coming months could pressure prices down further.

Copper futures shed 2.3%
China Daily
Copper futures in Shanghai fell by […] nearly 4 percent, by midday on Friday before closing […] down 2.3 percent from the previous close, because of growing investors’ concern about rising stocks of the industrial metal in China.