Steel service centers sit out amid concerns

Apr 16, 2013 | 02:54 PM | Corinna Petry

Tags  Metals Service Center Institute, steel shipments, steel inventories, mill lead times, steel prices, steel demand, sequestration, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Steel service centers are sitting out of the market amid concerns about building inventories as business remains slack after registering mixed shipping results in March.

U.S. and Canadian steel service center shipments totaled a combined 3.9 million tons in March, up 1.8 percent from 3.83 million tons the previous month but 10.9 percent below nearly 4.38 million tons in March 2012, according to Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) data.

"It’s very quiet out there. People are afraid to take positions on inventory. ... When business was at least halfway decent, customers bought for this month and next. Now they are just buying for this month or on a weekly basis," a source at a Great Lakes flat-rolled distributor said. "(Our company is) not afraid to take a position, but we are very selective on what we’re purchasing. Material we bought three to four months ago, we’re not buying that now."....

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