Steel distributors wary despite shipment rise
Feb 19, 2013 | 05:12 PM
| Corinna Petry
CHICAGO North American steel shipments rose in January, but steel distributors expectations for the first quarter remain tempered due to a sluggish economy and an anemic pricing recovery.
U.S. and Canadian distributors steel shipments jumped a combined 45.2 percent in January vs. a very weak December while inventories rose 1.2 percent month on month, according to the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI).
On a per-day basis, Canadian steel shipments rose 40.2 percent and U.S. shipments rose 30.8 percent.
"Business continues to be the same, with a little uptick in February shipments. ... But I would characterize (the steel market) as running sluggishly. Pricing continues to be muted. Lead times are short for flat-rolled (steel). Mills tried to raise the price, unsuccessfully," the vice president of a national full-line steel service center chain said.....
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