Steel trade’s new cry: wailt 'till 2014

Dec 31, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  steel imports, steel exports, James K. Lyons, steel trader, Catherine Ngai

In the minds of many steel traders, 2014--and not 2013--is the new target for an expected turnaround in the market due to oversupply, uncertain pricing and lackluster demand.

Early last year, a number of market sources said 2013 looked like it would be a promising prospect for a full recovery. But while the first half of 2012 looked strong for many domestic steelmakers, things slowed considerably in the second half on falling demand and oversupply issues.

The trading community has echoed much of that sentiment. U.S. steel imports totaled some 2.9 million tonnes in AprilÑmost likely on orders placed in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the early weeks of 2012Ñbut have fallen steadily ever since, with October preliminary figures slipping to some 2.3 million tonnes, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“I’m hopeful and optimistic that things will pick up slightly in 2013, but we may not see a true pickup for some time,” one flat steel trader told AMM. ....

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