Flat-roll steel import mart on 'hands and knees'

Dec 12, 2012 | 04:53 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  flat-rolled steel, traders, steel imports, hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled sheet, medium plate, heavy plate, steel import prices Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — The U.S. flat-rolled steel import market is surprisingly quiet, and the outlook for the first quarter doesn’t look any better, traders say.

"We have this interesting scenario right now. No one wants to buy anything, activity is slow, and from everyone that I talk to, they feel like the pricing in the market is softening a little bit," one trader said. "Lead times are short, not many deals are being made, yet everyone is raising prices. The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me right now."

While traders said business in the first half was stronger, import statistics show that figures have since been on a steep decline. Some 2.37 million tonnes of steel are licensed for import for November, down from preliminary imports of 2.85 million tonnes in October, according to data from the Commerce Department’s Import Administration. ....

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