NEW YORK Distributor
restocking helped AK Steel Corp. improve its sales of commodity
stainless products in the second quarter, even as imports of
Chinese commodity flat-rolled products rose dramatically.
"Commodity 300-series stainless
steel sales increased as service centers began once again to
replenish diminished inventory levels. However, once again,
imports of commodity stainless, especially from China,
increased in the second quarter to the highest level seen in
the past year," chairman, president and chief executive officer
James L. Wainscott said during the companys
second-quarter earnings call Tuesday. "We expect more of the
same in the third quarter on the commodity stainless
Demand for the companys
ferritic stainless steels, used in automotive exhaust systems,
was particularly strong during the quarter.
"We set a new quarterly record
for auto chrome shipments to North American Free Trade
Agreement customers in the second quarter," Wainscott said.
Value-added stainless product
sales from AK Steels Coshocton Works in Ohio, which
primarily go to appliance and industrial manufacturers, also
rose "nicely" during the period, he said.
The West Chester, Ohio-based
steelmaker shipped 227,500 tons of electrical and stainless
steels during the quarter, down 7.4 percent from 245,700 tons
in the same period last year but up 5.9 percent
Electrical steel prices came
under pressure in the second quarter on the back of increased
international capacity (
amm.com, July 24), Wainscott said.
"When you have that sort of
supply-demand imbalance, particularly in the foreign
marketplace, it makes for far more challenging market
conditions, and weve seen that both in volume and
pricing," he said, noting that significant capacity has come
online "in China and around the world."