U.S. Steel Cuts Jobs Amid Low Oil, Steel Prices

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Cold-rolled steel

Citing the collapse in global oil prices, U.S. Steel Corp. will idle its plant in Lorain, Ohio, laying off 614 workers, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

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The plant makes steel pipe and tube for oil-and-gas exploration and drilling. With oil prices currently around $50 a barrel, their lowest level since 2009, energy companies have far less incentive to drill for new supply, reducing demand for the plant’s products.

“The company has suddenly lost a great deal of business because of the recent downturn in the oil industry,” Tom McDermott, president of United Steelworkers local 1104 wrote to workers, in a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “What appeared just a few short weeks ago as being a productive year, [with new hires in December and extra turns going on], has most abruptly turned sour.”

Strengthening prices ended a three-day flat streak as the price of Chinese slab moved up by 1.0% on Monday, January 5 to CNY 2,980 ($480.30) per metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC saw little movement at CNY 3,040 ($489.97) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal held steady at CNY 1,080 ($174.07) per metric ton. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.39) and a low price of CNY 840.00 ($135.39) per dry metric ton.

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The cash price of steel billet continues hovering around $500.00 per metric ton on the LME for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth day in a row, the 3-month price of steel billet remained essentially flat on the LME at $480.00 per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract 3-month price was unchanged at $605.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price saw little movement on Monday, closing out around $607.00 per short ton.

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