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Steel barrier at US-Mexico border could require up to 3 million st of steel: AISI

Pittsburgh — An all-steel barrier along the US-Mexico border could require as much as 3 million st of steel, the American Iron and Steel Institute said Monday.

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US President Donald Trump said Sunday that his administration is now pursuing a steel barrier along the US-Mexico border, rather than the concrete wall he discussed while campaigning.

"We've been in touch with a lot of people and I have informed my folks to say that we will build a steel barrier," Trump told reporters Sunday in front of the White House. "It will be made out of steel. It will be less obtrusive and it will be stronger ... and we're able to use our great companies to make it. We're going to be doing a steel barrier and that gives us strength at the border."

There are several applications and technologies which could be used to produce an all-steel solution for a potential barrier, AISI CEO Thomas Gibson said Monday.

"Steel is readily available and is an innovative material that lends itself to a number of creative design solutions like the steel barrier," Gibson said in a statement. "Steel's strength and durability make it the preferred material of choice - whether it be for construction, like a barrier, or for cars, cans, transportation infrastructure, national security ... the list is endless."

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The Trump administration has requested $5.7 billion to fund 234 miles of a new physical barrier at the Southern border, but Democrats have opposed the idea of building a physical division as they do not see it as the most effective way to secure the border. The US government entered a partial shutdown December 22 as a result of deadlock over funding a border wall. The shutdown stretched into its 17th day Monday, marking the third-longest government shutdown in US history.

Trump's shift to a steel border barrier seemed to have little immediate effect on steelmakers' share prices Monday. Shares of US Steel on the New York Stock Exchange were up 0.54% at market close Monday; AK Steel was up 0.39%; Steel Dynamics Inc. was up 1.05% and ArcelorMittal's share price rose 1.32% from Friday's close. Iron ore miner Cleveland-Cliffs saw the largest increase with its stock price rising 3.07%.

Nucor's share price declined slightly to 0.76% and Commercial Metals Company's share price was down 5.52% from Friday. Nucor on Monday announced plans to build a $1.35 billion plate mill in the US Midwest, while CMC reported lower earnings in its fiscal first quarter Monday.

-- Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com