ISM Manufacturing Index Turns Negative; Steel Groups Praise G20 Action

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Two major manufacturing indexes fell in July, prompting concern about the U.S. economy and nine steel trade organizations praised recent G20 action on overcapacity.

Manufacturing Indexes Fall

The Institute of Supply Management‘s manufacturing index turned negative in July for the first time since February. And the services gauge fell last month to the lowest level since early 2010.

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The manufacturing index dropped to 49.4% from 52.6% in August and the ISM services gauge retreated to 51.4% from 55.5%. The combined reading of two indexes was also the weakest in six years.

Steel Groups Praise G20 Action on Steel, Express Cautious Optimism

Nine steel groups in North, South and Latin America, and Europe, expressed cautious optimism for the outcomes at the G20 leaders meeting that concluded Monday in Hangzhou, China.

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“We are grateful that the leaders of the G-20 governments have recognized the severe impacts that global steel overcapacity in the steel sector around the world are causing to our industry. This is an important first step, but it must be followed with concrete policy actions by governments to reduce excess capacity, end subsidies and government measures that distort markets, and guarantee a level playing field driven by market forces in the near term. We appreciate the commitment expressed in the G-20 leaders’ statement for ‘collective responses’ to address excess capacity in the steel industry. This excess capacity and the government interventionist policies that have fueled it are the root cause of the surge of steel imports currently being experienced in many of our home markets,” the industry groups said in a news release.

“We are encouraged that the G-20 leaders are committed to forming a Global Forum on steel excess capacity, and that the leaders expect a continuing relationship with the Global Forum at relevant upcoming G-20 ministerial meetings.  We are hopeful that the creation of a robust Global Forum, that includes participation by all major steelmaking economies, will be a substantive outcome of the meetings later this week in Paris of the OECD Steel Committee,” the groups continued.

“Our industry is at a crossroads. Governments must take action or we will remain in crisis. It is now up to the governments and the industry to work in partnership to create the Global Forum and define an agenda and process that will result in substantive policy actions to solve this crisis. The Global Forum has to start working as soon as possible, as the G-20 Leaders’ Communique clearly states that a progress report has to be ready for the relevant G-20 ministers in 2017,” the industry groups concluded.

The industry group includes representatives of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), EUROFER (European Steel Association), the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA), CANACERO (the Mexican steel association), Alacero (the Latin American Steel Association), the Brazilian Steel Institute, the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI) and the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA).


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