Rise in steel imports affects distributors, infrastructure

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

Tags  steel imports, Jeffrey J. Moskaluk, SSAB Americas, Metals Service Center Institute, steel plate, Harbor Maintenance Tax, David Phelps, American Institute for International Steel Richard Brazzale

Steel imports are at the forefront of many market players’ minds right now, with an influx of foreign products affecting service center inventories and buying decisions, and even leading to calls for more port infrastructure investment.

Heavy imports earlier this year, along with lingering uncertainty about demand, could cause service centers to reduce their steel plate purchases through the end of 2012, according to Jeffery J. Moskaluk, chief commercial officer of Lisle, Ill.-based plate producer SSAB Americas.

“We would certainly expect service centers to remain cautious on purchasing for inventory” in the fourth quarter, he said.

Moskaluk, who addressed an Association of Women in the Metals Industry meeting in California in September and was interviewed briefly by AMM afterward, noted that most distributors’ plate inventories have been climbing in recent months.

According to the most recent Metals Service Center Institute data, U.S. distributors’ steel plate inventories in both August and September were equal to 3.3 months’ supply at then-current shipping levels, up from 3.2 months in July and well above 2.8 months’ supply a year earlier.....

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