Wetake a look at how escalating trade tensions between the US and China may impact the Asian commodity markets, and which products are already feeling the heat.
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In this week’s highlights, we’ll take a look at how escalating trade tensions between the US and China may impact the Asian commodity markets, and which products are already feeling the heat.
US President Donald Trump last week signed what he said was ‘the first of many’ trade actions against Chinese imports.
China responded by announcing retaliatory tariffs on US imports worth up to $3 billion.
News of the US tariffs sent Chinese steel rebar futures diving last Friday. The Tangshan billet price, a closely watched barometer of steel performance in China, fell by about Yuan 100/dmt day on day.
Iron ore prices were down more than $5/mt week on week. Some observers said that warmer weather in China might lead to more construction activity. As construction is the main driver of steel demand in China, this is likely to support the iron ore market.
With that, our social media question this week is: Do you think stronger domestic steel demand in April will save the battered iron ore market? Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag PlattsMM.
Now back to the tariffs. China's retaliation has added a fresh element to the tariffs situation, pulling down the US dollar, which, in turn, pushed up oil futures on Friday. Oil markets are waiting for more cues to price direction amid the international trade tensions.
China is the fastest-growing buyer of US crude, and a trade war could pose a threat to the trade flow between the two countries.
In agriculture, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it might impose an additional 15% duty on top of the existing 30% duty on denatured ethanol imports from the US if the two countries fail to reach an agreement.
This will add pressure to the fuel ethanol market this week, with Chinese ethanol buyers retreating to the sidelines, waiting for more clarity before booking new cargoes from the US.
Meanwhile, LNG market observers said that protectionist policies could hurt both the US and China in this looming trade war. The US has identified increased gas exports as a possible way to reduce its trade deficit with China. On the other hand, China wants to grow gas imports substantially. The needs and goals of these two major LNG players are clearly on a path to convergence.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us, and have a great week ahead.