September 30, 2021 – Talks between EU and U.S. representatives on trade and technology issues are progressing, but no agreement is yet in sight in the tariff dispute over steel and aluminum. China is taking further measures to secure energy supplies in the country. And have aluminum prices come to stay?

Stainless Espresso: Talks in EU-U.S. tariff dispute without solution
Stainless Espresso: Talks in EU-U.S. tariff dispute without solution

No agreement in sight: EU-US talks in Pittsburgh inconclusive

No solution in sight between EU-U.S. dispute over reciprocal punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum. According to EU officials, the talks between the parties have so far been inconclusive. They noted that minor progress had been made, but also that the timetable would be tight and a solution in the tariff dispute would have to be in place by early November. Otherwise, the steel-aluminum dispute might not be resolved by December 2021.

Tensions between governments and lobby parties about tariff dispute

Both sides also appear to have certain tensions, with the respective European and U.S. steelmaking and aluminum producing lobbies pursuing different objectives.

Power supply in China: government takes further measures

China is taking further measures to ensure a sufficient power supply for its domestic industry. According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the production of hard coal is to be intensified and further nuclear capacities are to be ramped up.

Priorities on coal transport by rail

In addition, on September 29, all relevant authorities were instructed to prioritize the transportation of coal by rail and to ensure it under all circumstances. Overall, however, the Chinese government would like to overcome the energy crisis on its own and forego increased imports of coal.

Aluminum prices come to stay?

Aluminum prices have risen significantly in 2021, most recently reaching their highest level since 2008. Since then, they have held at high levels of over $2,900 per ton. Other analysts, such as those at consulting agency Goldman Sachs, are now also coming to the conclusion that high aluminum prices have come to stay.

Rising aluminum prices in the coming years

For the coming years, for example, the consultants expect a bull market for aluminum. Most recently, as reported yesterday, China had reduced the annual production volume of aluminum by a total of 3.5 million tons so far with far-reaching measures.

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