CHICAGO Steel buyers
faced softened demand, excess supply, short lead times and weak
pricing in April, an industry survey shows.
According to the Institute for
Supply Managements latest Steel Buyers Forum survey, more
respondents cut inventory last month, with the proportion of
those holding more than 60 days of steel falling some 7
percentage points from March. Meanwhile, the proportion of
member companies deeming their inventories as "too high" fell
about 16 percentage points month over month.
As a result, fewer purchasing
managers felt the need to cut inventories further. Half said
that they would shed steel over the next six months, down from
about 55 percent saying so in March.
More buyers expect the next
three months to bring fewer orders (17 percent vs. 9 percent in
March), while the share of those forecasting an upswing in new
orders fell by nearly half month over month. Meanwhile, the
proportion of those predicting rising backlogs dropped 20
The share predicting a decline
in economic activity over the next six months more than doubled
to 22 percent, and those predicting a rise in activity shrunk
by about 10 percentage points.
"The market is improving,"
particularly with spring construction season under way, an East
Coast flat-rolled distributor said. But with the oversupply,
"mills have to realize they cannot continue to pump out