Checking the forecast: AMM/PwC surveys the metals industry

Aug 28, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  PricewaterhouseCoopers, Robert McCutcheon, global outlook, 2012 outlook,

As the U.S. economy over the past year has continued along its bumpy ride toward recovery, it should come as no surprise that opinions have wavered somewhat among metals sector executives regarding the industry’s financial health.

Chief executive officers at metal companies are less hopeful than they were a year ago about the near-term prospects for improvement in their corners of the economy, according to a survey of global steel and aluminum executives conducted by AMM on behalf of Pricewaterhouse
Coopers LLP (PwC).

But although metal executives might now see a more depressing short-term environment than they did in 2011, about 71 percent are still somewhat or very optimistic that the business climate will turn around during the coming year, the survey results showed. Last year, 94 percent reported some level of optimism.

“There is no question that the past year or so has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. ... With some of the uncertainty created by sovereign debt issues, especially in Europe, opinions have changed somewhat, starting at midyear last year and carrying over into this year. That is what I think has led to a slightly less hopeful outlook for the time being,” said Robert McCutcheon, U.S. industrial products leader at PwC.

“There was a similar impact with (merger and acquisition) activity. It started off strong, but coming into the back end of the year there was some uncertainty over longer-term investment,” he said, noting that the market overall was nonetheless “pretty healthy,” and that health is keeping things from appearing too dark.....

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