Struggling steel traders hope demand improves

Dec 27, 2012 | 01:45 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  American Institute for International Steel, steel traders, David Phelps, Richard Brazzale, Coutinho & Ferrostaal, steel imports, steel exports, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — Steel traders hope that demand will pick up with more market certainty in the second half of 2013.

Traders squeezed by tight margins, uncertain markets and hesitant buyers of foreign material say that the trading community has struggled to keep business at steady levels in recent months. While 2012 numbers came in stronger at the start of the year, business activity has slowed down considerably since then.

"Thank God for the first five months of this year," Richard Brazzale, general manager of commercial operations at Houston-based steel trader Coutinho & Ferrostaal Inc., told AMM. "This (year) was so front-end-loaded, and we anticipated there would be a lull somewhere midyear, working up to the elections. Right now, things are quiet. I think the first quarter will also be pretty slow." ....

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