Steel inventories expected to remain lean

Nov 18, 2013 | 04:38 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  steel, MSCI, Metals Service Center Institute, Luke Folta, Chuck Bradford, Evan Kurtz, steel shipments, Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — U.S. and Canadian service centers’ steel shipments rose in October, but inventory levels were mixed, Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) data show.

While steel shipments increased in both countries, U.S. service centers reported a slight rise in inventories but a drop in months on hand while Canadian service centers saw a drop in both inventories and months on hand.

The steel market has seen steady but lackluster demand across most major product groups recently, and some analysts and market sources expect inventory levels to remain lean moving forward.

"We continue to expect a less-than-normal year-end destock, given firm/increasing flat-rolled pricing trends of late and relatively low flat-rolled months on hand," Luke Folta, an analyst at New-York based Jefferies LLC, said in a research note. "There are several mixed end markets currently, but overall more positive than negative demand, and we continue to look for signs of improvement (in) the nonresidential cycle as well as improved trends for areas of heavy equipment."....

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