SA expects limited inventory restocking to benefit its U.S.
operations in the first half of 2013 following rising demand
coupled with inventory cuts in the fourth quarter of 2012.
"Underlying real demand appears
to still be on a rising trend in the United States, while the
eurozone appears to be stuck in a mild recession," the company
said in its 2012 annual report released April 30. "In both
markets, inventory levels were cut during the fourth quarter of
2012, which should support demand to a limited extent during
the first half of 2013."
steelmakers flat carbon Americas segment includes
ArcelorMittal USA LLC, ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.,
ArcelorMittal Brazil and ArcelorMittal Lazaro Cardenas.
Hot-rolled coil spot prices
reached a peak of around $800 per tonne in the U.S. market in
February last year, up from $750 at the end of 2011, the
company said, reflecting stronger demand from the automotive,
energy and machinery sectors.
Market sentiment weakened during
the second quarter of 2012, however, due to destocking efforts,
combined with oversupply and lackluster demand, leading
hot-rolled coil prices to fall some $150 per tonne to as low as
$650 per tonne by the start of the fourth quarter.
The company said that hot-rolled
coil spot prices for late-first-quarter delivery were $660 to
$695 per tonne.
Looking forward, the producer
said that the U.S. market looks promising, particularly as the
automotive and housing sectors continue to strengthen.
"In the United States, an
improving labor market (and) rising availability of credit and
low interest rates, coupled (with) pent-up demand, is helping
both auto and housing output to grow, supporting expected
(apparent steel consumption) growth of 3 to 4 percent in 2013,"
the company said.