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According to a World Steel Association report, global crude steel production in August was up 2.6% compared with production in August 2017.

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The 64 countries reporting production to the World Steel Association produced a total of 151.7 million tons in August, according to the report. Global production reached 147.9 million tons in August 2017.

China produced 80.3 million tons in August, up 2.7% from August 2017 (when it was 78.2 million tons). Chinese production growth has been on the decline since May, when it hit 8.9%. Chinese production growth was up 7.2% year over year in July.

Meanwhile, India saw its production rise 3.7% year over year, up to 8.8 million tons.

The U.S. produced 7.5 million tons of crude steel in August 2018, marking an increase of 5.1% compared to August 2017.

Japan produced 8.8 million tons, marking a 0.9% year-over-year increase. South Korea hit 6.1 Mt, holding flat from August 2017.

As for Europe, Spain’s production hit 1.2 million tons, up 6.6%. Italy’s production rose 6.0% to 1.2 million tons. France’s crude steel production was 0.9 million tons, marking a 16.8% year-over-year decline.

Turkey’s crude steel production hit 3.0 million tons, down by 5.7%.

Eyes on Overcapacity

On the overcapacity front, as we noted Monday, steel-producing nations met in Paris last week to discuss strategies to curb global overcapacity.

During the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, nations discussed the way forward, continuing a dialogue on a subject after the November 2017 meeting in Berlin.

In addition, a European Commission went after the U.S., calling its Section 232 tariffs “unjustified.”

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“The EU currently has an unprecedented number of trade defence measures in place targeting unfair imports of steel products, with a total of 53 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures,” the statement said. “The EU has also activated all legal and political tools at its disposal to fight unjustified US 232 measures.”

Is Oil Heading for $100/Barrel?

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phonlamaiphoto/Adobe Stock

Oil prices have been quietly rising for the last six weeks.

The Brent crude benchmark has now breached the U.S. $80/barrel level to $81.20 this week, a level not seen since late 2014, the Financial Times reports.

In the U.S., ample shale oil supply and constrained infrastructure remains a drag on the West Texas Intermediate price, the U.S. marker, but it still increased $1.30 a barrel in New York to close at $72.08 this week — its highest level since July, according to the Financial Times.

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Source: Reuters

Despite tweets of protest from President Donald Trump, OPEC and non-OPEC producers meeting in Algeria at the weekend did not see any reason to increase output, saying high pump prices were down to refinery issues rather than the crude oil price.

They may, up to a point, be right, although hard data supporting this case is hard to come by.

Refined petrol prices at the gas pump are near all-time highs. In the U.K., motorists are paying up to £1.40/liter, or U.S. $7/gallon. Refiners are investing in upgrading plants, often a sign margins are strong and utilization rates are high. Gas pump prices have hit levels not seen since the oil price was significantly north of U.S. $100/barrel, but crude demand is robust and geopolitical issues have also played a part in the rising crude price.