Distributors restock after months on sidelines

Dec 20, 2011 | 02:46 PM | Corinna Petry

Tags  pricing, flat rolled market, distributors, Metals Service Center Institute, inventories, purchasing activity, corinna petry

CHICAGO — After months on the sidelines, steel distributors appear to have finished whittling down their inventories and are again restocking in a big way, market sources told AMM.

"Everybody is buying as much as they can for the last six weeks. Buying, buying, buying," the owner of an Ohio flat-rolled service center said.

As recently as last month, steel distributors told AMM they were still reluctant to restock even as prices began marching upward. The most recent data from the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) confirms the trend: In November, U.S. service centers reduced their steel inventories by 3.3 percent to 8.1 million tons from 8.38 million tons in October, while Canadian distributors cut stocks by 9.4 percent to 1.35 million tons from 1.49 million tons in the same comparison.....

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