Cold Comfort For Steelmakers

For U.S. steelmakers, 1991 was a bitter pill. The industry had expected a mild recession. Instead, shipments fell 9%, to about 77 million tons. Prices plummeted to 1982 levels amid intense competition from small producers. As a result, the integrated steel producers--companies that make steel from scratch instead of by melting scrap--lost an estimated $1.5 billion on sales of $37 billion, compared with a loss of $220 million on sales of $39 billion the year before.

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