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Energy policy and steel jobs

by Andre
Tags: energy, jobs, policy, steel
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Nov23-12, 06:50 AM
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Tata Steel sheds 580 jobs in Wales, with several sites to close..

Steel giant Tata is cutting 900 jobs and closing 12 sites under plans to improve competitiveness, the firm announced today....cont'd
This doesn't sound too well:

Tata's decision reflects the serious and ongoing challenges faced by manufacturing industries during these very difficult economic times. In addition to these challenges, it is clear that high energy costs and uncertainty over UK Government energy policy are having a significant impact on business investment decisions.
Is this the tip of the iceberg?
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Nov23-12, 09:06 AM
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I can't speak for the UK, but the Sparrows Point steel mill in my hometown (just outside of Baltimore, MD, USA) just shut down, and there are no buyers. The current owner is RG Steel, who is going through bankruptcy. My tenant lost her job there and is struggling to pay her rent. When she was laid off, she was hopeful that there would be a buyer waiting in the wings like there had been in the past, but no such luck.

I guess the thing that confuses me is that with the developing nations consuming so much steel, shouldn't demand for exports be up? Or are India and China just producing all of their steel domestically?
Nov23-12, 10:28 AM
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China produced 45% of steel in 2010. The EU was second.

It's perhaps complicated with multi-national companies buying up companies in nations other than the one of origin.

Energy and labor costs are certainly factors in the economics of the industry.

It is possible that companies with low energy (possibly subsidized) and low labor costs (China and India) enjoy greater profits, which could allow them to buy up competition and eliminate it.

Nov23-12, 12:29 PM
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Energy policy and steel jobs

Quote Quote by Andre View Post
Tata Steel sheds 580 jobs in Wales, with several sites to close..

This doesn't sound too well:

Is this the tip of the iceberg?

Yes it is. Germany is facing much the same situation as a result of grid instabilities. In addition to that the focus on renewables has also caused electricity prices to skyrocket, further adding pressure for them to leave. It's only a matter of time before the politically engineered clean energy bubble comes crashing down to reality.
Nov23-12, 03:21 PM
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This is a typical "no sense of proportion" news story IMO. Tata employs 50,000 people at 40 or 50 locations in the UK, and there are not the whole of the UK steel industry.

Given the current world overcapacity in the steel industry, a 2% reduction in their workforce is hardly the end of economic life as we know it.

There's also some "local" UK politics involved here. A steel plant at Redcar in the NE of England was closed in 2010, as a result of overcapacity in the industry. After a lot of political pressure it was reopened about 6 months ago. Tata didn't own it either before or after the shutdown, but if you insist on adding more capacity to an over-supplied industry for polotical reasons, why is it surprising that the other players respond?

If the highest world demand for steel is in China, it makes more sense to manufacture it there than ship the raw materials and finished product half way round the world just to keep a few hundred Welsh workers employed IMO.

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