Wednesday, March 31, 2004
BW Online | March 22, 2004 | One Giant Global Labor Pool?
: "After all, a software programmer with sufficient smarts and education needs only an office, a computer, and plenty of caffeine to do a good job."
"U.S. [white-collar] workers are being put in direct competition with similarly skilled workers around world,"
federal and state governments as well as Corporate America must put a much stronger focus on education and training
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Yahoo! News - Weirton Steel Workers OK Pact With ISG
: "The contract vote was one of the union's most important decisions since 1983, when employees decided to buy the mill from its previous owner, now-defunct National Steel Corp. "
Monday, March 29, 2004
This has nothing to do with Steel or metal stamping, but everything to do with the world we live in ....
for 6 months we in Toronto have been holding our collective breath and hoping this little girl would be found alive. Last night we found out it was not to be ....
Pulse24 - Toronto's News - All hope of finding nine-year-old Cecilia Zhang alive is lost.
: "a passerby accidentally came upon her remains in a Mississauga ravine, in an area investigators say is "not well traveled."
The grim discovery put an end to the frantic search to find her, which began last October"
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Yahoo! News - Steelmakers, Lufthansa Bolster Eurostocks
: "Europe's third-largest steelmaker Corus Group rose 3.3 percent in Amsterdam after it announced higher steel prices to combat years of losses"
Court scheduled to review final agreement for acquisition of Hamilton Specialty Bar mill
: "Delaware Street Capital distributes formal notice of agreement; ready to begin rebuilding process"
Friday, March 26, 2004
Plus ša change ... Yahoo! News - Survival of the Biggest
: "It turns out that--at least where big business is concerned--the world economy of 2004 is not very different from the world economy of 1904. A remarkably high proportion of the world's biggest businesses today were in existence a century ago. "
The House Committee on Small Business - Manzullo Offers Potential Remedies to Reduce Surging Steel, Metal Prices
: "Manzullo, who held his second Small Business Committee hearing on the issue this morning, said many events -- foreign and domestic -- have occurred since the beginning of the year to spike the costs of steel and other metals for U.S. manufacturers. "
Yahoo! News - Steelmakers Lead European Stocks Up
: "In an environment of rising commodity prices investors are searching for companies that can maintain their margins by passing on higher costs to their customers. "
There isn't much of a tie-in to steel, but I was amazed at this story ...
I thought the whole point of diesel fuel was, when not compressed, it burns relatively reluctantly, doesn't give off much in the way of vapours and cannot explode. So how did this happen?
Yahoo! News - Tanker Crashes, Closes I-95 Artery Outside NYC
: "The truck, carrying 9,000 gallons of diesel oil on a newly built elevated section of the highway in Bridgeport, exploded around 7:45 p.m. after it was struck by a car.
There were no serious injuries. The bridge will be closed for days and possibly weeks or months.
'This bridge is going to have to be reconstructed,' Bridgeport Fire Chief Mike Magglione said on local television.
'The highway has buckled. ... When our trucks arrived here, the steel beams were glowing orange and sagging two to three feet down. The southbound lane will definitely have to be reconstructed. The condition of the northbound lane is up to the inspectors.' "
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Yahoo! News - Pa. Executive Tells Congressional Committee About Impacts of Skyrocketing Steel Prices on Transportation Construction
: "Skyrocketing steel prices could bring many federally-funded highway and bridge projects to a halt, putting thousands of American jobs in jeopardy, "
Here Comes Inflation
: "Commodity prices are at multiyear highs and still rising. These commodities include steel, rubber, timber, natural gas, lead, zinc, aluminum, platinum, and oil. Soybean prices on the Chicago Board of Trade are up 40% from year-ago levels. Corn rose almost 25% in the same period. Silver prices are at a six-year high, and gold prices have risen dramatically."
Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. Updates Fiscal 2004 First Quarter Outlook
: "'Metal prices have continued to rise and demand has been even better than we previously anticipated. Additionally, we have been successful in passing the cost increases for our products through to our customers since we have very little contract business. "
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Yahoo! News - Durable Goods Orders Up 2.5 Percent
: "A 9.9 percent increase in transportation equipment drove the advance, the largest rise since July 2002. Excluding transportation, new orders fell 0.3 percent in February.
Demand for motor vehicles was up 5.0 percent from a 4.4 percent retreat in January. "
Yahoo! News - GM Sues Steel Suppliers Over Prices
: "GM filed suit Friday against steelmaker Steel Dynamics Inc. and Textron Inc., a major supplier of steel fasteners for GM vehicles. The suits, which seek a declaratory judgment and damages, contend the higher prices violate contracts with the automaker. "
(Canadian) Federal budget ignores manufacturing crisis
: "'Across Canada manufacturing, including the steel industry, remains in crisis, and the Liberal Government has taken no action to ensure survival,' "
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Commercial Metals Company Reports All-Time Record Quarter; Second Half Looks Strong
: "'The primary story of the quarter was the unprecedented rise in the price of steel scrap accompanied by, albeit with a lag, a series of rapid price increases for our steel mill products. "
Monday, March 22, 2004
Lean Manufacturers Recognized for Excellence
: "The largest missile manufacturing facility in the world, the 1st appliance manufacturer and ten automotive suppliers are 2004 Recipients of the 2004 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing- the 'Nobel prize of Manufacturing' "
Stelco Inc. Investor Relations - Court rules that Stelco was insolvent
: "'The Court has confirmed that Stelco was insolvent within the meaning of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act when it initiated its restructuring process. This decision provides the certainty with which to proceed towards our goal of a positive outcome and a successful restructuring. "
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Yahoo! News - WTO Sets Up Panel to Rule on EU Complaint
: "The European request covers 31 U.S. measures which cover several hundred million dollars. Most are related to steel imports, although other items covered include pasta and chemicals.
To establish whether dumping is taking place, authorities determine the market price for a product and compare it with the price being charged by a specific producer. The European Union objects to the U.S. use of a method known as 'zeroing' in which products found to be sold at above-market prices are ignored in the calculation. "
Yahoo! News - Nucor Steel Raises Forecast, Stock Up
: "Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steel producer, on Friday almost doubled its quarterly earnings forecast because of the higher prices and strong demand that have sparked an industrywide recovery. "
Thursday, March 18, 2004
So now when someone tells you "it fell off the back of a truck", you might be inclined to believe them ....
Yahoo! News - GM Recalling 4 Million of Its Pickups
: "GM is recalling 4 million pickups worldwide after 134 people were slightly injured when the trucks' tailgates fell off without warning. "
Here's something one of my suppliers pointed out to me. Scan google news for "blast furnace closing" and see what comes out. Blast furnaces are being idled by a lack of coke.
ABCNEWS.com : Weirton Steel Accepts Buyout From ISG
: "The company was further hurt in recent weeks by the ongoing global shortage of coke, the fuel used for its two blast furnaces. As its supply ran out, Weirton began closing some rolling and finishing operations, then idled one furnace. "
: "shipments were lower than normal because of a 15-day maintenance outage at one blast furnace in November. Chief Financial Officer Paul Mooney said the lost productivity cost the company about $14 million.
Because of a global, ongoing shortage of coke, the fuel used for blast furnaces, Wheeling-Pitt was not able to accumulate a stockpile of steel before the outage, he said."
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I saw this first here Metalforming Xtra - Delphi Wins Court Orders Regarding Steel Prices
: "Delphi Corp. has won temporary restraining order forcing suppliers to honor their contracts."
Then I found more references to the case ...
KRT Wire | 03/07/2004 | Delphi Says Restraining Order Compels Its Suppliers to Maintain Shipments
: "Delphi filed the complaints to 'enforce our suppliers' contractual obligations.'
Steel distributors have boosted prices for smaller suppliers, which have been forced to absorb the costs because large suppliers won't budge from current contracts."
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Yahoo! News - Unions Press for Sanctions Against China
: "The request represented the latest effort by American unions to highlight what they see as unfair trade practices that have led to a record $124 billion U.S. trade deficit with China last year and the loss of thousands of U.S. factory jobs. "
Yahoo! News - Weirton Retiree Benefits to End April 1
: "A federal bankruptcy judge reluctantly ordered the termination of health care coverage for at least 9,000 retirees and their dependents at month's end. Continued payments of $3 million a month could force the steel maker into liquidation.
Weirton Steel filed for Chapter 11 protection last year, slashed its work force nearly in half but has continued to pay full benefits to retirees for almost 10 months.
Many retirees have complained they accepted lower wages when they worked at the mill in exchange for free, lifelong health care. "
Monday, March 15, 2004
Yahoo! News - Industrial Production Up 0.7 Pct in Feb.
: "February's gain in production was larger than Wall Street analysts' expectations for a 0.4 percent increase. Capacity utilization, which measures how much productive capacity is in use, rose to 76.6 percent from 76.1 percent in January.
Factory production [...] posted a 1.0 percent rise in February. Manufacturing capacity in use increased to 75.2 percent, its highest level since June 2001.
The report provided further evidence that the U.S. manufacturing sector -- hard hit by the 2001 recession and by companies' reluctance to invest in new equipment afterwards -- continues to recover, though at an uneven pace. "
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Newsday.com - Opinion - It was an engaging performance, but an oversimplified economics lesson
: "Bush did not mention the one-sided nature of his tax cuts, which benefit wealthier people generously but do little for the lowest-income workers.
He did not acknowledge the cost to the economy of the deficits his tax cuts are spawning, which will be a drag on growth and probably will force the imposition of painful cuts in government services. He ignored the cost to Americans of the protections his administration approved for the steel industry - since ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization - even as he advocated free trade."
Yahoo! News - Bush Radio Address Raps Kerry's Tax Plans
: "Even as Bush has implied that Kerry is an 'economic isolationist,' he has erected some trade barriers of his own. In March 2002, he imposed tariffs on 10 types of foreign-made steel, then set stiff import duties on a popular type of Canadian lumber. "
Yahoo! News - Tough Competition in China's Rust Belt: "The northeast, home to 107 million people, has a wealth of natural resources - coal, forests, hydroelectric power, farmland. But in many areas those riches have been used up. Entire cities are imperiled by sinkholes over depleted coal mines.
even with state support most factories in the region limp along with equipment and technology dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Only 15 percent of state factories have up-to-date technology.
workers accustomed to cradle-to-grave employment, welfare benefits and housing find it difficult to start businesses of their own, especially since state-run banks accustomed to government-backed public companies often turn them away. "
Friday, March 12, 2004
Yahoo! News - The Pension Bomb
: "Some, mostly unionized, industries cling to old-style pensions--autos, steel, airlines. They use the system to foist costs onto competitors and taxpayers. If a company doesn't have the cash to give workers a pay raise, it will fatten their pensions instead. When it goes bust, the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has to make good on the promises. "
Yahoo! News - Falconbridge Eyes New Mine, Cuts Output Forecast
: "The world's third biggest nickel producer said the mine was one of the projects it had on the go that would help it increase its total nickel output by 65 percent over the next six years. "
Thursday, March 11, 2004
And now for something completely different ....
Yahoo! News - Esquire Says the Steel City Rocks
Yahoo! News - Bush Nominee Withdraws After Kerry Remark
: "The Bush administration said Anthony Raimondo's withdrawal was related to Nebraska political issues and not the flap raised by the Kerry campaign. "
Yahoo! News - ISG to Reopen Part of Cleveland Plant
: "it will restart steel production at a part of its Cleveland Works that has been idle for nearly three years.
The company will hire about 140 laid-off workers.
The new production will help ISG meet what is expected to be greater steel demand this year. "
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Bush administration puts off announcement on manufacturing post
: "Bush used a Labor Day speech last year to announce the new post [...] the administration's point person in putting in place a plan to bolster manufacturing in the United States.
[that was 6 months ago]
An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that the decision to postpone the announcement was related to the Democratic criticism. The official said Raimondo was 'definitely under consideration' for the post. "
MSN Money - Breaking News
: "The factory sector has lost jobs in each of the last 43 months. Since Bush took office in early 2001, 2.8 million manufacturing jobs have been wiped out. "
The Moultrie Observer - Internet Edition
: "A spike in steel prices is driving right through the financial heart of local contractors and is worrying economic developers."
AP Wire | 03/10/2004 | Steel consumers ask for export taxes to stymie surging steel prices
: "surging steel prices have doubled - and in some cases, tripled - over the last year.
steel producers and market analysts said the price spike is the result of unfair Chinese competition and, at any rate, likely is only temporary.
The plea, made during a House Small Business Committee hearing, comes three months after the White House eliminated steep tariffs on steel imports to, in part, ease rising costs for consumers. Thousands of steel consuming businesses are located in Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin - all political swing states that President Bush lost in 2000."
PMA Participates in Trade Investigation of Chinese Currency
Many economists and members of Congress believe that the Chinese currency, the yuan, would rise in value by up to 40 percent if it were market-determined."
The Philadelphia Inquirer Online
: "community leaders have blocked proposed state and local tax breaks that U.S. Steel Corp. is seeking.
In recent months, the corporation has taken its case to the public, with a campaign of full-page newspaper ads, radio commercials, and phone solicitations.
Dozens of residents have responded - but not as U.S. Steel hoped.
69 people had called the township as of last week. Sixty calls were against U.S. Steel."
Monday, March 08, 2004
Yahoo! News - Czech Unemployment Hits 10.9 Percent
: "Unemployment runs as high as 25 percent in some parts of Bohemia and Moravia in the industrial north that have been especially hard hit by restructuring of the steel and coal industry. "
Delaware Street Capital to acquire Slater Steel facility
: "It means this mill will remain in business and continue to deliver world-class specialty steel products to existing and potential customers around the world.'"
Yahoo! News - China Seeks Balanced Development Strategy
: "Regulators are tightening credit, warning that steel producers and other Chinese industries are growing too fast, creating a risk of glutted markets, idled factories and financial problems. Rapid growth is also causing fuel shortages and pushing up prices of some goods.
China accounted for 4 percent of the world's economic activity last year but consumed almost one-third of all the coal used worldwide. It also used up 27 percent of all steel, 25 percent of all aluminum and 40 percent of all cement. "
Allegheny Technologies to Acquire J&L Specialty Steel Assets
: "'This transaction provides an opportunity to accelerate the return to profitability of our flat-rolled stainless steel business,' said Pat Hassey, Allegheny Technologies President and Chief Executive Officer. 'The economics of the transaction are attractive. The combination and integration of the J&L Specialty Steel operations with our Allegheny Ludlum operations should improve our overall competitive position and create opportunities for growth, cost savings and operating synergies. In addition, this industry consolidation improves customer service by maintaining J&L's capacity in the U.S. stainless steel market. "
ATI Allegheny Ludlum Announces Stainless Steel Price Increase
: "Effective with shipments beginning March 8, 2004, prices are being increased by 3%.
Effective with shipments beginning March 29, 2004, prices are being increased by 3%.
The existing raw materials surcharge remains in effect. "
Donner Minerals Ltd.: Drilling Underway at Stephens Lake
: "The Stephens Lake Project (in Manitoba) is a joint exploration effort by Donner and Falconbridge Limited focused on exploring for magmatic nickel, copper and platinum group element deposits. "
Labels: Copper, nickel
Friday, March 05, 2004
Yahoo! News - ISG Offers Weirton Workers Incentives
: "A proposed five-year contract between the union at bankrupt Weirton Steel Corp. and prospective buyer International Steel Group is packed with production-related incentives, including bonuses and quarterly profit-sharing.
The 40-page agreement would preserve about 2,000 of the mill's 3,000 jobs but reduce the number of job categories from 32 to five. That streamlining of the work force, which requires workers to do many more jobs than in the past, is part of the Ohio company's model for efficiency and has been implemented at other ISG mills. "
Yahoo! News - Poland Closes Steel Group Sale to LNM
: "The Polish government on Friday completed a $1.06 billion deal to sell a majority stake in the country's largest steel group to Anglo-Dutch steel-maker LNM Holdings. "
Yahoo! News - Commodities volumes show no sign of slowing
: "The increase in commodities trading has coincided with a sharp rise in demand for raw materials due to the first synchronised global economic upturn since the 1980s and the emergence of China as a significant consumer.
The London Metal Exchange, the world's largest non-ferrous metals exchange, reported an 11 per cent rise in futures and options trading in February from the same month last year. In the past week copper, aluminium, tin, lead and zinc have all broken long-term price highs. Last year, the LME reported its most active year in its 126-year history. "
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Yahoo! News - S Korea To Regulate Exports Of Iron And Steel Scrap
: "The announcement was made after some local industries had called on the government to take drastic measures, as the raw material shortage was seriously hurting their businesses and could even force them to halt their operations. "
Yahoo! News - China's 'Well-Off Society' on Rocky Road
: "China's leaders are struggling to restore health to a financial system glutted with bad debt and to curb excessive investment in real estate projects, auto, steel and aluminum factories. Soaring industrial production has sparked energy shortages, and rising prices for food and fuel raise worries over inflation.
Though an estimated 30 million city dwellers live in poverty - many of them retirees or workers laid off from state factories - in the fast-growing cities incomes average $970. "
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Now here's something I bet you didn't know ... did you know that an American Nickel isn't made only of nickel? It isn't even mostly nickel ... Yahoo! News - U.S. Mint Rolls Out New Nickels
: "Vending machines will be able to accept the new nickels because their composition ? 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel ? and their size remains the same, Mint officials said"
As it turns out, the same is now true for the Canadian Nickel
. It wasn't always so, though.
Labels: Copper, nickel
Yahoo! News - Steelworkers President Uses New Tactics
: "'He's reaching accommodation with the realities of the global market and trying to save what can be saved of the American steel industry,' said Charles McCollester, president of the Pennsylvania Labor History Society.
Gerard, 57, started his career at 18 in a fiery nickel smelter in Sudbury, Ontario.
ISG shrank union job categories from 32 to five, freeing the company from rigid limits on redeploying workers. But the contract approved last February also required ISG to cut layers of management between the chief executive and the shop floor from seven to three.
Increased flexibility allowed ISG to cut the employee hours required to produce a ton of steel from 2 1/2 to one. The union gained more control over day-to-day operation of the mills.
A few years back, such togetherness was unthinkable. The perilous state of the industry changed that. "
Monday, March 01, 2004
'Recycle-A-PC' Keeps Old Electronics Out of Waste Stream
: "about one billion units of computer equipment will become obsolete or be 'retired' between now and 2010. This represents approximately 40 billion pounds worth of potential scrap, much of which could end up in landfills. But, most of this material is recyclable, while some is hazardous. A new program, www.RecycleAPC.com, from Metech International, a leading electronics recycling company, aims to keep as much of this scrap out of the waste stream as possible."
Well, if you're reading this BLOG regularly, this should come as no surprise ...
Yahoo! News - EU slaps multi-million dollar trade sanctions on US
: "The commission underlined that the level of sanctions is substantially less than the 4 billion dollars allowed by the WTO. The sanctions take the form of import duties starting at five percent, rising by one percentage point per month.
This year they would amount to some 300 million dollars if continued until December
The WTO has ruled that the FSC law flouts global trade rules by allowing thousands of US firms, operating through subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, to benefit from reduced export taxes.
WTO arbitrators agreed with the EU that just over four billion dollars (3.4 billion euros) would constitute 'appropriate countermeasures' based on the trade impact of the US policy.
The US administration says the EU decision is regrettable -- and insists it is pushing the Congress hard to push through legislation to end the tax breaks 'as quickly as possible,' according to a US spokesman. "
I guess I missed this announcement the first time around ...
Elamex Subsidiary Precision Tool, Die and Machine Company Files for Chapter 11 Protection
"About Precision Tool, Die and Machine Company
Precision manufactures and powder paints metal stampings primarily for the U.S. appliance and automotive industries. Precision employs over 500 personnel at three facilities located in Louisville, Kentucky, and generated annual revenue of $75.3 million in 2002.
Elamex is a Mexican company with manufacturing operations and real estate holdings in Mexico and the United States. The Company is involved in the production of food items related to its candy manufacturing and nut packaging operations, and metal and plastic parts for the appliance and automotive industries. Elamex's competitive advantage results from its demonstrated capability to leverage low cost, highly productive labor, strategic North American locations, recognized quality and proven ability to combine high technology with labor-intensive manufacturing processes in world- class facilities. As a value added provider, Elamex's key business objectives include superior customer satisfaction, long term supplier relationships and employee growth and development, with the ultimate goal of continuously building shareholder value.
Elamex also announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the adoption of a plan to sell Precision. Elamex will initiate a process to actively market and sell the subsidiary as soon as practicable. Any sale will be subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Management intends to engage the services of an investment advisor to assist in these efforts.