US imports of steel sagging on freight costs

Dec 06, 2007 | 04:05 PM | Maria Guzzo

Steel imports into North America continue to travel slowly as soaring ocean freight rates and the low value of the U.S. dollar make importing uneconomical.

"Business is lousy," a West Coast trader said.

"There's very little coming in," an East Coast trader agreed. "Customers are just filling in what they need domestically. Import prices are not attractive to have customers buy. The dollar is having a major effect. For 30 years it flourished with high dollar and low freight rates. But now there's a low dollar and high freight rates."

Ocean freight rates have surged to $95 a ton vs. $35 to $40 a year ago and $25 to $30 two years ago, the West Coast trader said. "Nobody can afford that," he said. "But before the end of year I foresee it could be $100 a ton."....

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