Steel market sees 2012 forecasts similar to 2011

Jan 31, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  The Month in Metals, 2012 outlook, AMM Staff

Executives up and down the steel supply chain say they are gearing up for strong 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. “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 (had) sold out rollings through January.”

However, there’s still some overcapacity on the sheet side, he warned, raising some concerns as to the sustainability of the run-up. “We aren’t sure if (incoming) orders are totally for replenishment or whether there are meat and potatoes behind it,” he said.....

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