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Ford faces Canada strike as deadline looms

  • Market: Metals, Petrochemicals
  • 18/09/23

Automaker Ford is facing a strike at its Canadian operations as the deadline for a new labor contract approaches and as the industry grapples with an active United Autoworkers (UAW) strike in the US.

The Unifor autoworkers union is negotiating new contracts with Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, known as the Big 3 automakers, for the union's 18,000 represented workers.

The union has set Ford as their strike target, which means that if the two parties do not reach a tentative agreement by the time the contract expires tonight at midnight, the union could strike the company's Canadian operations.

Contracts at GM and Stellantis have been extended.

Ford has two plants in Windsor, Ontario, that build engines for versions of the F-150 pickup truck, the Mustang sports car and some of Ford's commercial-focused chassis cab trucks.

Versions of those vehicles are produced at Ford plants in Dearborn and Flat Rock, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; and an assembly plant near Cleveland, Ohio.

Ford also has the Oakville assembly plant in Ontario that builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus SUVs.

In late-August, Unifor workers at the three automakers voted to authorize strike action by at least 98pc at each, with workers at Ford voting 98.9pc in favor.

The potential strike in Canada comes as Ford, GM and Stellantis are weathering one in the US.

Ford has laid off 600 workers at its Wayne, Michigan, plant because of the strike at that facility, while GM has said it may idle its Fairfax, Kansas, plant as a strike at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant has cut off some parts supply.


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23/07/24

US House passes waterways bill

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Houston, 23 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill on Monday authorizing the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to tackle a dozen port, inland waterway and other water infrastructure projects. The Republican-led House voted 359-13 to pass the Waterways Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes the Corps to proceed with plans to upgrade the Seagirt Loop Channel near Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The bill also will enable the Corps to move forward with 160 feasibility studies, including a $314mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. Water project authorization bills typically are passed every two years and generally garner strong bipartisan support because they affect numerous congressional districts. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its own version of the bill on 22 May. That bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate's version is expected to reach the floor before 2 August, before lawmakers break for their August recess. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until 9 September. If the Senate does not pass an identical version of the bill, lawmakers will have to meet in a conference committee to work out the differences. WRDA is "our legislative commitment to investing in and protecting our communities from flooding and droughts, restoring our environment and ecosystems and keeping our nation's competitiveness by supporting out ports and harbors", representative Grace Napolitano (D-California) said. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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LME fob China HRC volumes hit multi-year high


23/07/24
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23/07/24

LME fob China HRC volumes hit multi-year high

London, 23 July (Argus) — Ongoing weakness in Chinese hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices has sparked a flurry of trading on the London Metal Exchange's (LME) fob China HRC contract this month. More than 100,000t will trade this month for the first time since summer 2020, according to exchange data. Physical Chinese prices have been plumbing new lows recently amid tepid domestic and export demand. Argus ' fob China HRC index, cash-settlement basis for the LME contract, dropped by $3/t today to $497/t, its lowest since August 2020. Asian export offers also appear to have dropped, with a Vietnamese quote tabled around $20/t lower today into the UK. A 5,000t trade went through on the LME today at $498/t for August, following softening physical and raw material costs — the blast furnace raw material basket has dropped by around $25/t over the course of July, and in a buyers' market sellers are expected to pass this reduction off. There is increased talk that China will look to clamp down on steel exports where value-added tax (VAT) has not been paid, but market participants note the last attempt fell flat, and volumes have not reduced much. During January-June this year the world's largest producer exported 15.6mn t of HRC, compared with 10.4mn t over the first six months of last year, and a record 23.9mn t over the year as a whole. "In line with the growth in Chinese steel exports, in recent months we have seen renewed activity in the LME steel fob China HRC ( Argus ) futures contract from across the global value chain," LME product specialist steel and nickel Alberto Xodo told Argus . Interest has stemmed from major Chinese exporters, steel merchants in Europe and Singapore, as well as industrial groups in southeast Asia and the Middle East, he added. By Colin Richardson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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India 2024-25 budget waives duties on critical minerals


23/07/24
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23/07/24

India 2024-25 budget waives duties on critical minerals

Mumbai, 23 July (Argus) — India will reduce or remove custom duties for 25 critical minerals and blister copper but the government is maintaining its tax on copper scrap. A full list of the 25 critical minerals was not announced but India's finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her 2024-25 fiscal year budget speech today that lithium, copper, cobalt and rare earths are crucial for sectors like nuclear energy, renewable energy, space, defence, telecommunications and high-tech electronics. Out of the 25 critical minerals to be exempt from the custom duties, 23 will be fully exempt and two will have their duty cut. The Indian government is also launching a critical mineral mission aimed at strengthening the supply chain for essential minerals. This is to encourage the private and public sectors to boost their long-term competitiveness. Customs duties on precious metals like gold and silver have been reduced to 6pc, while platinum is cut to 6.4pc. India has waived the 2.5pc basic customs duty on ferro-nickel to enhance the domestic production cost efficiency of stainless steel, with it currently import dependent to meet domestic demand. The concessional customs duty on copper scrap remains at 2.5pc, while the duty on blister copper has been reduced to zero from its previous 2.5pc. This adjustment aims to support the copper industry by reducing imports. The government has continued the zero custom duty on ferrous scrap and nickel cathode in a bid to support to achieving net-zero carbon emissions. A carbon market will be set up for India's hard-to-abate steel and cement sector, Sitharaman said. The government is working towards launching a domestic compliance carbon market by the end of this year to ensure firms keep to their greenhouse emissions intensity targets, the Carbon Markets Association of India told Argus in May. By Deepika Singh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Japan’s Resonac to optimize petchem business


23/07/24
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23/07/24

Japan’s Resonac to optimize petchem business

Tokyo, 23 July (Argus) — Japanese petrochemical producer Resonac plans to optimize part of its petrochemical business by creating a new wholly-owned subsidiary by 1 August. Resonac decided on 23 July to set up Crasus Chemical, which will take over production of basic petrochemical goods from Resonac. It aims to set up the subsidiary as an independent, listed company to clarify and facilitate performance evaluations and to simplify a chain of command to speed up decision making. Resonac plans to achieve quicker decarbonization of its petrochemical production and to enhance competitiveness and profit growth. Crasus will be in charge of manufacturing and selling basic petrochemical goods like ethylene and propylene, goods made from acetic acid and synthetic resins. Resonac owns the 618,000 t/yr Oita ethylene cracker in south Japan's Oita prefecture that will will also be transferred to Crasus. Petrochemicals has accounted for around 20pc of Resonac's sales revenues. Japan's petrochemical firms have attempted to optimize their businesses with intensifying international competition and shrinking domestic demand. Mitsubishi Chemical has also tried to reorganize its basic petrochemical business, although it has yet to announce firm plans. By Nanami Oki Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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US House to vote on waterways bill


22/07/24
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22/07/24

US House to vote on waterways bill

Houston, 22 July (Argus) — The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on 22 July on a waterways bill that would authorize new infrastructure projects across ports and rivers. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is renewed typically every two years to authorize projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The bipartisan bill is sponsored by representative Rick Larsen (D-Washington) and committee chairman Sam Graves (R-Missouri). The full committee markup occurred 26 June, where amendments were added, and the bill was passed to the full House . A conference committee will need to be called to resolve the different versions of the bill. The major difference between the bills is that the House bill does not include an adjustment to the cost-sharing structure for the lock and dam construction and other rehabilitation projects. The Senate Committee on Environment Public Works passed its own version of the bill on 22 May, with all members in favor of the bill. The House version of the bill approves modifications to the Seagirt Loop Channel near the Baltimore Harbor in Maryland, along with 11 other projects and 160 feasibility studies. One of these studies is a $314.25mn resiliency study of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which connects ports along the Gulf of Mexico from St Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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