US Steel’s Longhi Continues to Blame Asian Imports for Tube Plant Shutdowns

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US Steel Corp. temporarily close plants in Texas and Pennsylvania last week and  continued to blame illegally priced imports this week, raising the volume on trade disputes with China and South Korea.

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The steelmaker said last week that it would indefinitely idle plants in Bellville, Texas, and McKeesport, Pa., that make steel pipe and tube for the oil and gas industries, affecting 260 workers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Imports of tubular products used by the energy industry doubled between 2010 and 2012, according to industry officials. While the energy boom has dramatically lowered domestic steelmakers’ energy costs, the industry has been not able to capitalize on that because imports have captured about 25 percent of the U.S. market.

“We will continue to fight unfair trade by foreign competitors who are creating a detrimental impact and threat to middle-class paying manufacturing jobs,” U.S. Steel president Mario Longhi said in a statement.

Weakening prices ended a three-day flat streak as the spot price of the US HRC futures contract fell 0.4 percent on Friday, June 6 to $667.00 per short ton. Following three days of little change, the US HRC futures contract 3-month price rose by 0.2 percent to $624.00 per short ton.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.80) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.19) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC remained essentially flat at CNY 3,380 ($542.39) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal saw little movement at CNY 1,390 ($223.05) per metric ton.

The cash price of steel billet held steady on the LME at $390.00 per metric ton. The 3-month price of steel billet saw little movement on the LME at $400.00 per metric ton.

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