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EU proposed lithium toxic classification concerns ILiA

  • Spanish Market: Metals
  • 20/06/24

The International Lithium Association (ILiA) has said it is "gravely concerned" about proposals made by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) regarding the potential classification of lithium products as toxic.

ILiA has lobbied against the proposals privately for two years, but has now made its concerns public to ensure awareness of a potential problem for the development of a European lithium industry. ECHA's proposals would classify lithium carbonate, hydroxide and chloride as Toxic for Reproduction, Category 1a. Any resulting impact on the market could take up to two years to appear, leading to uncertainty for the nascent battery industry, ILiA told Argus.

"In Europe, an incorrect classification which is too high would risk making EU member states less attractive compared to other countries for lithium mining and refining projects," an ILiA representative wrote in an article for the organisation's membership newsletter. "Opening a lithium mine, a lithium refinery or a battery production plant in the EU would be more burdensome, with additional safety measures and uncertainties on permitting."

EU regulation is sometimes seen as the benchmark standard for the rest of the world, which means classification could impact other countries. But some countries disagree with the ECHA proposals, highlighted by a series of assessments and letters from Chile, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the UK, which ILiA provided to ECHA.

"These opinions demonstrate that there is no global scientific agreement on the classification and that other countries might reach different conclusions… with possible repercussions on trade relations and access to lithium in Europe," an ILiA representative said.

ILiA highlighted that some lithium projects in Europe have already been shelved for other reasons, with the US Inflation Reduction Act attracting investment away from the region and public protests halting lithium mines, as happened to UK-Australian firm Rio Tinto's Jadar project in Serbia.

Having the capacity to refine lithium is "crucial" for recycling lithium and providing the materials needed to grow the European battery industry, ILiA said.


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25/07/24

EU could launch 'other countries' HRC dumping probe

EU could launch 'other countries' HRC dumping probe

London, 25 July (Argus) — The European Commission soon could initiate a dumping investigation on some exporters selling into the 'other countries' quota for hot-rolled coil (HRC), according to multiple market sources. The 'other countries' quota in recent quarters has consistently filled rapidly upon resetting, and this pressure has been intensified by rising Chinese exports since August of last year. Some key 'other countries' sellers have seen the volumes they take from China balloon as a result. Vietnam bought more than 4.2mn t from China in the first six months of this year, compared with about 6mn t in the whole of 2023. China's increased exports has sparked talk that both India and Vietnam may start anti-dumping duty investigations. When announcing its 15pc cap on countries selling into the 'other countries' quota, the commission specifically alluded to the increase in Chinese exports affecting trade flows. Vietnam, Egypt, Japan and Taiwan are by far the largest sellers into the 'other countries' quota, and all of the countries initially exceeded their 141,849t cap quickly when the new quotas took force on 1 July. In April, before the cap was implemented, these four countries amounted for more than half of the 1.4mn t imported by the EU. The 'other countries' quota has essentially been reduced from 940,000 t/quarter to less than 600,000 t/quarter given the new cap. Sources suggested duties could be applied retroactively if the commission finds that material has been dumped. They also suggested it could be difficult to show dumping in some countries, such as Vietnam and Egypt, where domestic prices are often below export levels. A leading producer was gathering information on Egyptian cargoes arriving at EU ports in recent months, a trading firm said. The commission refused to comment on any potential investigation. By Colin Richardson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

China raises EV, ICE vehicles trade-in subsidies


25/07/24
25/07/24

China raises EV, ICE vehicles trade-in subsidies

Beijing, 25 July (Argus) — The Chinese government has raised subsidies to boost trade-in of old internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with new energy vehicles (NEV). The subsidy for consumers who trade in an old NEV registered before 30 April 2018 or an ICE vehicle that meets or is below China's national 3 emission standard for a new NEV has doubled to 20,000 yuan from a previous subsidy announced in May . Electric vehicles cost anywhere between Yn50,000 to Yn1mn, with consumers mostly purchasing those in the Yn100,000-200,000 range, according to industry participants. The government is also offering a Yn15,000 subsidy for consumers who trade in an old NEV registered before 30 April 2018 or an ICE vehicle that meets or is below China's national 3 emission standard, and purchase a new ICE vehicle with the displacement below 2.0 litre. Beijing in early March announced a plan to promote the replacement of industrial equipment and consumer goods through large-scale trade-ins, with NEVs making up the main part of the scheme, as part of Beijing's efforts to meet its annual economic growth target of 5pc. China's ministry of finance announced on 3 June that it will allocate Yn6.44bn to local governments to pay the subsidies for vehicle trade-ins in 2024, including Yn107mn to Tianjin, Yn90.81mn to Shanghai, Yn74.61mn to Beijing and Yn66.49mn to Chongqing. The central government announced on 29 May that it will remove purchase restrictions for NEVs during 2024-25, with the capital city Beijing allocating 20,000 additional purchase quotas for NEVs to families without a car. China produced 1.003mn NEVs in June, up by 28pc from the previous year and by 6.7pc from May, with sales increasing by 30pc from a year earlier and by 9.8pc from the previous month to 1.049mn, partly driven by the country's supportive measures, especially the trade-in subsidies. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Bangladesh scrap activity slowly resumes after curfews


24/07/24
24/07/24

Bangladesh scrap activity slowly resumes after curfews

Pittsburgh, 24 July (Argus) — Industrial activity across Bangladesh has begun to slowly resume today following a slight easing in government curfews, but spotty communications networks remain a hurdle to the full resumption of business in the steel and ferrous scrap sector. The Bangladesh government began to relax curfews today following a near nationwide curfew, communications blackout and deployment of the national army on 19 July , as it attempted to quell demonstrations and violent clashes across the capital, Dhaka, and the broader country. More than 27,000 army personnel across 57 districts were deployed to stem clashes between protestors and police centering on quota reform for the allocation of government jobs, according to Bangladeshi state-controlled media. The government officially amended the quota allocation on Tuesday, according to an official gazette issued by the Ministry of Public Administration on 23 July. Curfews have been lifted in the Dhaka district to between 10am and 5pm and to 9am to 6pm in the Sylhet district on 24 and 25 July, according to the UK Foreign Office. Communications networks have also begun to slowly be restored, but market participants noted that for now networks and internet availability remain spotty which has hampered a return to normalcy. Broadband internet was restored to specific areas, including diplomatic and commercial zones, on Tuesday after five days of outage, but social media remain restricted, according to state-controlled media. Steelmaking operations were broadly not impacted by the escalation in events in recent days, one major regional steelmaker told Argus , noting that mills were able to run without interruption during this period. The largest and most direct impact was on sales and deliveries, but that impact is likely to be short lived as shipments have begun to gradually improve today with conditions expected to be much smoother next week, the mill added. Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said today in state-controlled media that the situation will be under control in the next 3-4 days but did not offer details on when the curfew would fully be lifted, while the railway ministry secretary Humayun Kabir said the Bangladesh Railway would resume limited passenger train operations beginning tomorrow. The US State Department still advises against travel to the country and the UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel. Import/export clearing activities were temporarily halted at various port across the country because of the situation, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) said in state-controlled media. Activity at the port of Chittagong has remained ongoing but slow, according to market participants. Dozens of vessels are still situated on the water outside the port of Chittagong, vessel tracking data shows. Three deep-sea ferrous scrap bulk vessels — Ken Ei, DL Lavender , and Liberty C — also remain outside the port. But DL Lavender , a vessel from the US, has repositioned itself outside the dock. The FBCCI has appealed to the government to waive any port or shipping charges for importers and exporters and has sought for charges not to be imposed until 15 days after operations at ports have normalized. By Brad MacAulay and Corey Aunger Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US House passes waterways bill


23/07/24
23/07/24

US House passes waterways bill

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.

LME fob China HRC volumes hit multi-year high


23/07/24
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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