Contrary to expectations earlier this year that the weak dollar would boost exports and shield domestic producers from imports, it looks like US imports are set to rise again, according to the Steel Business Briefing. Sighting import license applications SBB says US applications for April came in at 2.64m metric tons, 16% higher than the March preliminary import count of 2.28m tons, which in turn was higher than February. Interestingly, this is despite a continued decline in steel imports from China, suggesting the export taxes imposed in January by the Chinese authorities are having the  desired effect. For April, China will likely fall to fifth place among the largest steel exporters to the US at 168,000 tons. That lags behind Canada at 646,000 tons, Mexico at 239,000 tons, Japan at 193,000 tons, and Korea at 172,000 tons  — based on the license applications.

So if imports are rising, does this mean increased competition for domestic producers and lower prices for consumers in the months ahead? Not yet, as strong global demand, still rising raw material costs and capacity issues mean prices will be high for the second and third quarter at least. (more…)

Gas tax or no gas tax? Thanks to the proposed gas tax holiday, that’s the question of the day for American presidential candidates. This isn’t a political blog, so you won’t hear comments about whether or not this is fiscally irresponsible and an attempt to buy votes or a chance to alleviate the pocketbooks of those in need. Whatever the case, at MetalMiner, a gas tax holiday isn’t our main concern. What is our concern? The fact this plan represents. The fact that most energy prices are soaring.

It isn’t just the fuel in your car. According to several news pieces, including  a recent Newswire article, “The EPA reports that $40 billion is spent annually in the United States to cool buildings. This accounts for one-sixth of all electricity generated in a year. These staggering statistics, coupled with the rising cost of heating and cooling homes, have homeowners looking for ways to save the earth and save money on energy costs.”

Metals can help. In fact, there are several reasons to consider metal roofing for your home. (more…)

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