In 1998, orders for industrial valves rose by 3.2% over 1997 levels, in spite of a 5.1% drop during the fourth quarter from the third, according to the Valve Manufacturers Association of America.

The dollar value of shipments, however, slipped 0.8% during 1998, with the biggest decreases in plug valves. Automated valves were the sole gainer in shipments. Between the third and fourth quarters, gate, globe and check valves slid 5.7%.

VMA also reported that imports of industrial valves increased by 8% during 1998, while exports increased by 6%. The largest increase in imports - 19% - was among iron valves and safety and relief valves. Exported copper valves posted a 13% gain, while steel valve exports declined 19% between the ends of 1997 and 1998.