NEW YORK Rebar
mills and buyers are optimistic about the 2014 construction
market and expect more robust activity after a year-end spurt
of business in 2013 that saw prices and demand rise.
better business. This year well have a pretty good
shipping year. ... The economy is continuing to grow and next
year for us will be better," according to one mill source.
"Its a much
better outlook this year than it has been the last couple," one
rebar distributor in the Midwest said. "My order books are
stronger. Ive got customers talking about projects
theyre going to do. There are jobs that have finally
started to go through the stream. People are hiring people,
theyre spending more money. Its not like it was
five years ago, but its better in 2013 than 2012, and
itll be better next year."
Several forecasts of
construction activity indicate growth next year, but not all of
the indications are positive. The architectural billings index,
for instance, a leading indicator for construction markets, was
down in November at 49.8, indicating a slight decline in design
activity for future construction projects. The index was
positive for the prior six months.
added 17,000 jobs in November as the sectors employment
hit the highest level since August 2009, according to the
Associated General Contractors of America.
The improvement will
likely be reflected in 2014 rebar purchases, most sources
"From a rebar point of
view, commercial construction seems to be improving moderately.
Its not like a windfall where you have in North Dakota
with the shale boom, but its noticeably better than
(gross domestic product) growthif you look at percentage
growth, were improving a little beyond that," a source at
a West Coast rebar distributor said of his sales.
"The market has improved in the second half of 2013, but it
is still well under peak levels and relatively flat relative to
2012," a spokeswoman for Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel
North America said. "The outlook is favorable. Demand for U.S.
products will pick up next year and in 2015 as the economy