American Steel Industry Continues To Face Declining Orders

U.S. steel shipments declined during the first half of 1999, a situation resulting from the "ongoing problem of unfair and injurious steel imports in the United States," says American Iron and Steel Institute President and CEO Andrew G. Sharkey III. Shipments during the period were down 7.7% from the same period in 1998. For the first half of 1999 the capability utilization rate was 80.4%, indicating that producers shipped nearly 20% less than they were able to produce at full capacity. "Over the past year this rate [capability utilization rate] has been more than 10 percentage points lower than the same period in the previous year," says Sharkey. "The data show that America's steel import crisis continues." A year-to-year comparison of the first six months' shipments shows the following changes within major market classifications where shipments were sent:

  • Service centers and distributors, down 12.5%;
  • Automotive, up 3.9%;
  • Construction and contractors' products, down 6.2%;
  • Oil and gas, down 54.5%;
  • Machinery, industrial equipment and tools, down 17.6%;
  • Appliances, utensils and cutlery, up 2.8%;
  • Containers packaging and shipping materials, down 3.5%;
  • Electrical equipment, down 2.6%.
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