Boeing strike affects titanium industry

Due to the fact that the aerospace industry accounts for 45% to 50% of global titanium consumption, the Boeing Co. machinists’ strike, on top of an 18-month delay in shipping the 787 Dreamliner to airlines, could hurt titanium producers’ profits and depress demand for the metal. A prolonged strike by 27,000 machinists who walked off the job on 6 September 2008 could seriously hurt 787 development and ripple through a global aerospace industry already strained by project costs, currency volatility and a faltering global economy. The Boeing strike raises risk to the latest 787 schedule that calls for 25 aircraft deliveries in 2009 and 45-50 in 2010. If the strike slips the 787 schedule by two months, Boeing may have enough titanium inventory at 2008 year end to destock throughout 2010. Boeing is outsourcing most of the structure and components of its new models to companies around the world and assembling them at its plant in Everett, Washington, US. A survey of contacts in the industry showed shipments of titanium are down around 5% over last year. Third-quarter and full-year 2008 and 2009 earnings estimates have been lowered for Allegheny Technologies, Titanium Metals and RTI International.
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