ASIAN MORNING BRIEF 20/12: Chinese steel production growing; US removing Rusal sanctions; European rebar prices flat

The latest news and price moves to start the Asian day on Thursday December 20.

Base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mostly higher at the close of trading on Wednesday December 19, reflecting a continued retreat in the dollar index. Read more in our live futures report.

Here are how prices looked at the close of trading:

Leading pig iron exporter Metalloinvest is to modernize two of its four blast furnaces before the end of 2020, but will keep its pig iron capacity largely unchanged, the Russian company said this week.

Strong growth in Chinese steel production and falling domestic supplies of metallurgical-grade fluorspar (metspar) mean China is likely to end 2018 as a net importer, with a knock-on effect on global supplies of the key fluxing agent for steelmaking.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control plans to remove sanctions against UC Rusal and En+ Group in 30 days due to significant restructuring and corporate governance changes, it said in a notice.

The price for rebar produced and delivered in Northern Europe stayed flat on December 19, with the year-end and uncertainty over import quotas keeping the market quiet.

The knock-on effect of Section 232 tariffs imposed by the United States in March this year on imports of steel and aluminium has been swift and dramatic.

A requirement for a higher energy density for new EV battery projects has been removed from the official regulations on automobile industry investment published by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission on its website.