If you read the print edition of the May/June Steel Times International you will see the headline: No short-term solution for the China syndrome. And while there is clearly a reference to the 1979 movie starring Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas, the leader in question, while nothing to do with a nuclear meltdown, has plenty to say about a potential meltdown of sorts if China continues to dump steel products on world markets.
This month’s China Update is longer than usual as it addresses what the ‘rest of the world’ steel industry is clearly very concerned about; so concerned that its leading national associations – including EUROFER, the American Iron & Steel Institute and Alacero (the Latin American Steel Association) – penned an open letter to the Chinese government with a view to making their feelings known and, hopefully, generating enough awareness of the situation to make a difference.
Steel Times International speaks exclusively to the figureheads of the aforementioned associations about the purpose of the open letter and asks whether such an exercise will help change the course of the global steel industry going forward. One thing is for certain, there is no short-term solution to the problem, according to Mario Longhi, CEO of US Steel.
We also report from Cleveland, Ohio, on the recent AISTech convention and ‘exposition’ (as they call it in the USA), which proved to be a great success all round. For Steel Times International, it was interesting on many fronts. Not only did the magazine have its own stand at the show, we also managed to talk to the heads of some of the USA’s leading steelmakers, including ArcelorMittal USA’s CEO Andrew Harshaw, who said that the only place to solve the problem of China was in Washington DC. Bringing a touch of High Noon to a press conference, Harshaw said: “At the end of the day the only thing they’re going to respect is the law.”
Outgoing AIST (Association for Iron & Steel Technology) president Glenn Pushis from Indiana-based Steel Dynamics, put aside valuable time to answer some questions posed by Steel Times International, including one on China. He made the very valid point that it’s not just China but South Korea, Russia and Brazil that have significantly increased exports to the USA.
The theme of China continues in our report on CRU’s World Steel Conference in Brazil where Chris Houlden warned delegates that there would be no silver linings going forward. While Houlden apologised from the very beginning for being the bearer of bad tidings – plunging global demand, prices falling off a cliff and great economic and geo-political risks – Wiley Rein’s Alan Price had no such qualms. China, he said, has built the world’s largest steel industry even though it lacks any comparative advantage in making steel. According to Price, 19-20 of China’s biggest steelmakers are state-owned and the country is moving towards market socialism, not a market economy.
Steel Times International carries a number of technical papers covering process control, BOF and electric steelmaking. We have two Perspectives Q&A features from HyGear and TMEIC Global and an interesting History page on UK pig iron production during the World War One. There are also country reports from Brazil and the USA and a healthy industry news section.