Steel service centers expect softer quarter

Apr 17, 2012 | 04:00 PM | Corinna Petry

Tags  Metals Service Center Institute, flat-rolled prices, shipments, order books, demand, automotive, natural gas, pipe profit margin

CHICAGO — Steel service centers experienced a healthy first quarter but are already seeing a slight softening during the second quarter, sources have told AMM.

U.S. and Canadian distributors shipped 12.86 million tons of steel products in the first three months of 2012, up 6.3 percent from just under 12.1 million tons in the same period last year, according to the Metals Service Center Institute.

"Our March shipments were strong, but bookings are a better story of what’s going to happen. They are definitely slower, and that includes the automotive segment," a source at a Michigan flat-rolled distributor said. "I don’t think there is as much optimism. The price of steel was raised to $700 (per ton), then to $720, but we are in for a flat market. They might wallow for a while."....

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