Same buy/no-buy dance, but the tune has changed

Nov 01, 2010 | 06:04 AM | Michael Marley

November has arrived. The leaves are falling (and clogging up the storm drains), tailgate parties are under way at stadiums across the country (providing an economic boost to the nation's bratwurst and beer makers) and the ferrous scrap and steel industries are slowly entwining in the year-end buy or not-to-buy scrap waltz.

The counterparts on the popular TV show demonstrate how even the most glamorous celebrities have two left feet on a dance floor yet are willing to work with a skilled partner to compete against rival couples. The scrap and steel waltz, by contrast, pits one partner against the other. No trophies are awarded and no prize money is donated to a favorite charity. It's more like a seventh-grade school dance, with the boys on one side of the auditorium and the girls lined up along the opposite wall.

But the year-end buy/no-buy dance has changed. Most of the large mini-mills, the major users of scrap, are now scrap suppliers as well as steelmakers. They resemble the integrated steel industry of decades past, which not only owned the means of production—rolling mills and furnaces, for example—but also the raw materials like coal and iron ore.....





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