Steel exports to the USA accounted for just over 2.5 per cent of Rautaruukki's turnover in 2001. The Group supplied a total of some 4.7 million tonnes of steel last year, and just over 80,000 tonnes of this went to the USA.
The US decision to impose tariffs on steel imports will not therefore have a major direct impact on Rautaruukki's business operations. Rautaruukki has alternative plans for sales to compensate for the exports to the USA.
It is thought that the impact of the US decision to impose import tariffs, which was widely anticipated by the steel markets, has already been passed on to steel prices, which are low, at the end of 2001 and the start of this year. For that reason the US decision is not expected to have any major impact on product prices in Europe. Contracts for steel products for the second quarter of the year in Europe have been made at confirmed prices.
The volume of steel production in Europe itself will have the biggest impact on future developments in product prices in Europe. Steel production in December 2001 and January 2002 was almost 8 per cent lower than during the same period a year ago. European steel product prices will also be affected by the quotas for imports of steel products to the EU already agreed by the EU and by any counter measures taken by the EU in response to the US tariffs.