Steel Imports Drop

Tom Lehman uswa12 at
Thu Mar 25 10:26:39 PST 1999

Dear Henry,

One of the tricky parts of this debate is that we lack a good way to monitor steel imports. The import figures maybe as much as 6 months behind the real numbers. The industry is usually the best barometer because they can tell by their order books what is really happening in the steel marketplace. Although, this has to be balanced by better government monitoring.

Recently, George Becker, in New Steel magazine( a trade journal) both made fun of and harshly criticized the big steel executives for supporting and in some cases giving money to politicians and groups that were for NAFTA, FAST TRACK and the WTO new world order etc. etc. Mocking them for smooching up to both Clinton and Wall Street.

Btw, if someone wanted to smuggle somthing into this country all they would have to do is encase it in steel.:o)

Your email pal,

Tom L.

"Henry C.K. Liu" wrote:

> U.S. Economy
> Thu, 25 Mar 1999, 10:43am EST
> U.S. Steel Imports Fell 19.2% in Feb. to 2.008 Mln
> Metric Tons
> Washington, March 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. steel
> imports
> dropped for the fourth consecutive month in
> February as the
> government slapped penalties on cheap foreign
> products and
> domestic prices slumped, the Commerce Department
> said.
> Imports fell 19.2 percent in volume to 2.008
> million metric
> tons last month, with China, Japan and Korea
> accounting for much
> of the drop. Imports had fallen 4.2 percent in
> January to a
> revised 2.485 million tons, initially reported as
> 2.421 million
> tons.
> The total dollar-based value of steel imported
> fell 18.7
> percent in February from a month earlier to $854.6
> million. In
> January, the value of imported steel fell 5.2
> percent to $1.051
> billion, initially estimated at $1.026 billion.
> ``Steel imports declined because of pressure from
> Washington
> and lower prices in the U.S.,'' Michelle
> Applebaum, a Salomon
> Smith Barney analyst, said before the report.
> ``It's a less
> attractive market and the tariffs have created
> uncertainty.''
> The Commerce Department imposed preliminary duties
> on hot-rolled
> steel from Japan and Brazil last month.
> Steel prices, still well below what they were a
> year ago,
> are beginning to rebound, suggesting the campaign
> by LTV Corp.,
> USX Corp., and other U.S. steel manufacturers to
> curb cheap
> imports from Russia, Brazil, Japan, and South
> Korea is working.
> The companies that filed trade complaints against
> Japanese,
> Brazilian and other steelmakers say some of the
> countries that
> have cut their U.S.-bound exports of products like
> hot-rolled
> steel and steel plate are shifting to cold-rolled
> steel,
> structural steel and other varieties of the metal
> and that
> shipments from yet other nations are rising.
> ``The crisis in steel is not over,'' Curtis
> ``Hank''
> Barnette, president and chief executive of
> Bethlehem Steel Corp.,
> the nation's No. 3 producer, told the Senate
> Finance Committee
> this week. ``The marketplace is here in the U.S.
> and they're
> going to fill that market.''
> Last year's surge in steel imports slashed
> profits,
> shuttered plants and put thousands out of work. In
> retaliation,
> the U.S. House of Representatives last week
> approved a bill by a
> two-to-one margin that would cap steel imports at
> about
> 26 million metric tons for the next three years.
> However, analysts said the recent decline in
> imports lessens
> the chance the legislation will become law.
> The Clinton administration, which has negotiated
> an
> agreement with Russia to pare steel imports from
> that country
> back to 1996 and 1997 levels, is going to try to
> block the
> measure. ``We will be working with the (Senate)
> leadership to try
> to make sure that the bill as passed in the House
> does not pass
> the Senate,'' said Commerce Secretary William
> Daley.
> By region:
> -- Shipments from Japan fell 49.7 percent to
> 192,419 tons.
> -- Imports from China fell 62.9 percent to 36,515
> tons.
> -- Imports from South Korea fell 10.3 percent to
> 246,316
> tons.
> -- Shipments from Russia rose 16.6 percent in
> February to
> 55,710 tons.
> -- Imports from Brazil rose 2.7 percent to 192,137
> tons.
> U.S. trade officials have begun scrutinizing steel
> imports
> from China, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene
> Barshefksy told
> the Senate Finance Committee. The U.S. imported
> 98,508 tons of
> steel from China in January, up from 59,831 in
> December. That's
> about five times the level seen in January 1998.
> ``The sharp rate of increase is cause for
> concern,''
> Barshefsky said. ``We will not allow others to
> jump into a vacuum
> caused by the elimination of dumped steel from
> Japan or other
> countries.''
> The Commerce Department began publishing the steel
> report in
> January in response to the flood of foreign
> shipments and falling
> prices. The statistics are based on preliminary
> data collected
> for the monthly report on international trade. The
> government
> plans to publish the report for a one-year period.
> The March
> report is scheduled to be released April 22.

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