Case Hardened

A break on specialty steels

Specialty steels account for only 10% of American steel sales, but they are nonetheless the glamorous high-tech end of the business, the items that can produce big profits. Stainless steel, used for knives, forks and hundreds of other products, is one such metal. Jet-engine fan blades, nuclear-reactor control rods and orthopedic body implants are made of others. But just as the older American carbon-steel industry is being clobbered by competition from abroad, so too are specialty steels. As Wall Street Analyst Peter Anker put it, "No other country would permit the kind of intrusion in their industry...

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