With steel output down, buyers are driving the deals

Jan 01, 2009 | 11:33 AM |

North American steel producers heard plenty of frightful economic news as 2008 drew to a close. Some fear that a stronger U.S. dollar combined with lower freight rates and lower global steel prices opens the possibility of more low-priced steel imports heading this way.

The global financial crisis and tight credit market helped contribute to weakening demand from most steel customers, an equation that helped send steel prices down from a peak of around $1,100 per ton for hot-rolled sheet in August to around $650 per ton by late November.

Steel producers responded to the demand sag by quickly moving to cut production, with predictions pointing to reductions of up to 50 percent of North American steel capacity by January.....

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