Slow plate mart seeing signs of uptick: Schmitt

Jul 29, 2013 | 03:13 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  steel, steel plate, SSAB, SSAB Americas, Charles Schmitt, construction, plate market, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — Lackluster demand, low inventory restocking and global overcapacity will likely keep the U.S. plate sector at low but stable levels, according to SSAB Americas’ top executive, although positive data indicates that the slump might not last for long.

"We have a bit of a depressed demand right now from a plate standpoint; when you combine the import share of cut-to-length plate and plate-in-coil with current domestic production, certainly we have an overcapacity issue," Charles "Chuck" Schmitt, president of Lisle, Ill.-based SSAB Americas, told AMM. "Then when you expand upon that globally, particularly in Europe and increasingly in Asia, then the overcapacity is sizeable."

Plate demand this year has generally been stable but stagnant, particularly as construction activity has picked up even if the non-residential sector remains slow. Bright spots include a strong automotive run rate, high industry truck sales and strong energy and shale plays that are spurring plate demand opportunities such as pipe production, petrochemical tank projects and infrastructure investments, Schmitt said.....

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