Steel execs look for repeat of ’11 in new year

Dec 30, 2011 | 12:31 PM |

Tags  steel prices, flat-rolled steel, sheet, end-users, supply chain, corinna petry

CHICAGO — Executives up and down the steel supply chain say they are gearing up for stronger first- and second-quarter pricing and demand ahead of a softer second half as 2012 looks poised to largely mirror 2011.

“We are looking for a déjà vu of 2011,” a source at one East Coast flat-rolled distributor said, projecting a stronger 2012 but not a full return to pre-recession levels.

Some of the first-half strength is already apparent, he said, citing a marked pickup in order entry starting in November as lead times started to push into January.

“Things look a lot better than they did 60 days ago,” he said. “Our order book is very, very active. We placed a lot of mill orders both to cover increased business and to beat price increases. We are doing what everybody else is doing. That is why the mills have sold out rollings through January.” ....

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