Another day at MetalCrawler and another steelmaker reports a loss due to imports. Also, US economic growth ground nearly to a halt in the first quarter and the US International Trade Commission reaffirmed duties on Chinese steel tubes.
U.S. Q1 Results Disappoint
U.S. Steel Corp. reported a loss and lowered its pretax 2015 earnings forecast by around $500 million, citing “massive” imports, particularly from China, low oil prices and excess inventories.
The results were worse than expected and pushed the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker’s stock down.
Domestic steelmakers are reeling as prices have dropped to their lowest levels since the 2009 financial crisis. The benchmark hot-rolled coil index has declined 26% since the start of the year, to $444 per ton.
U.S. Steel Chief Executive Mario Longhi called market conditions “extremely difficult” as the company, in a statement, blamed imports and oil prices.
Overall steel imports into the US rose 14% to 7.9 million tons during the first two months of 2015, according to Global Trade Information Services. The US imported 397,062 tons of steel from China during that time, up 24% from the same period a year before.
US Economy Barely Grows
The US economy skidded to a near halt in the first three months of the year, battered by harsh weather, plunging exports and sharp cutbacks in oil and gas drilling.
The overall economy grew at a barely discernible annual rate of 0.2% in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That is the poorest showing in a year and down from 2.2% growth in the fourth quarter.
ITC Affirms Steel Oil Tube Tariffs
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously that US producers were injured by subsidized imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from China. The ITC decision affirms countervailing duties (CVD) of 10-16% established earlier this year by the Commerce Dept. Commerce will now issue a countervailing duty order on the Chinese imports as a result of the ITC’s affirmative determination.