US steel firm hurt by imports from Turkey
NEW YORK - Reuters
A steelworker, at a plant on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, smiles in this photo. Turkish steel imports hurt US steel. Hürriyet photoNucor Corp, the second-largest U.S. steelmaker by production, forecast a lower-than-expected profit for the current quarter as surging imports from countries including Turkey and Russia pressure already weak prices.
Steel imports into the United States jumped more than 17 percent to 2.7 million metric tons in April compared with a year earlier, according to the Census Bureau.
The euro’s fall against the dollar contributed to the increase in imports from Europe, while surging production there and in China has added to the global oversupply of steel.
“Although the U.S. market continues to show stable to slightly improving demand for steel, this surge in imports has undercut seasonal pricing momentum that is normally experienced early in the calendar year,” Nucor said.
Rise in imports continues
The rise in imports, particularly rebar, plate and sheet steel, began at the end of 2011 and has continued through the first half of 2012, the company said.
Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco said in April that the level of U.S. imports was not being driven by domestic demand and that the company would press for “legal challenges in Washington”.
However, Citi analysts said the falling prices would soon ease the pressure from imports.
“Imports are often cited as one of the causes of domestic market weakness,” they said in a note.
“While there is some truth behind this, imports as a percentage of demand remain within the historical range.”
Nucor rivals including U.S. Steel Corp, the biggest U.S. steelmaker, have already painted a gloomy outlook for the second quarter.
Nucor said it expects to earn 35 cents to 40 cents per share for the quarter ending June 30, including an impairment charge of 9 cents per share.
The impairment charge relates to the company’s Italian joint venture Duferdofin Nucor SRL, which makes and distributes steel beams in Europe and North Africa.