NEW YORK U.S. Steel Corp.
posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $50 million, citing
uncertainty in the global economic climate and high import
"For the third consecutive
quarter all three of our reportable segments (flat-rolled,
tubular and U.S. Steel Europe) had positive operating results
despite the uncertain global economic environment," U.S. Steel
chairman and chief executive officer John P. Surma said in a
statement Jan. 29. "Lower drilling and project line pipe
activity, as well as continued high import levels,
significantly reduced our tubular
segments results. For our flat-rolled segment, our
profitability was negatively affected by the uncertain domestic
fiscal situation as well as continued high levels of
flat-rolled steel imports."
While the results marked an
improvement from the $211-million loss recorded in the same
quarter a year earlier, it stood in sharp contrast to net
income of $44 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Net sales for the three months
ended Dec. 31 totaled nearly $4.49 billion, down 6.9 percent
from $4.82 billion a year earlier and 3.5 percent below $4.65
billion in the third quarter.
Flat-rolled results also
decreased in the fourth quarter due to lower average realized
prices and shipments, compressed mill lead times and an
uncertain domestic fiscal situation, the Pittsburgh-based
steelmaker said. Lower raw material and repair and maintenance
costs were partially offset by higher natural gas costs.
Flat-rolled product prices
averaged $721 per ton in the fourth quarter, down 2.7 percent
from $741 in the third quarter and a year earlier.
Demand continues to "exhibit
caution early in the year," although recent increases in daily
order entry rates suggest that spot market demand will
progress, U.S. Steel said.
"We expect higher shipments in
the first quarter than the fourth quarter, with increases
across many of our industry segments. Average spot prices are
expected to be higher than the fourth quarter as recently
announced price increases take effect," Surma said.
Last week, U.S. Steel was among
other steelmakers that hiked prices on carbon flat-rolled
products by $40 to $50 per ton (
amm.com, Jan. 23).
For the full year, U.S. Steel
posted a net loss of $124 million, more than double the
$53-million loss seen in 2011, on sales that slipped 2.8
percent to $19.33 billion.