steel supply chain is becoming more complex and more global,
although the United States still has a number of recognizable
bright spots, executives said during an industry panel at the
Metals Service Center Institutes Carbon Conference in
But these bright spots
could be undermined by a number of risks, including
overregulation and oversupply, steel executives from the
equipment, production, service center and distribution supply
In terms of demand,
the energy sector continues to be among the strongest end
"The energy market is
pretty diversified, especially with the pipe and tank car
industry," said Charles W. Schmitt, president of Lisle,
Ill.-based SSAB Americas. "Were also seeing some strength
in transmission towers, so thats good business for SSAB.
We think that the one drag right now continues to be
construction. Hopefully, well see a pickup by the second
half of 2014."
Others, though, were
more grim in their expectations for nonresidential
construction, saying that its the last major market
needed to turn around before steel gets a significant
disappointment in 2013 and entering into 2014 continues to be
nonresidential," said Michael J. Taylor, president of Cargill
Steel Service Centers. "Im not quite optimistic yet on
what 2014 will do, and I dont know what will pull it out
and give it a bump. I think that when it occursand it
will occur at some pointit could get interesting for the
steel and manufacturing economy."
But with certain
bright end markets, that also means the need to become more
"Things are really
starting to pick up, and its interesting to see that
across the board with service centers, the majority of new
investments is going toward adding capabilities instead of just
adding capacity," said Kip Mostowy, president and chief
executive officer of Herr-Voss Stamco, Callery, Pa.
and regulation, Gary W. Stein, president of Houston-based
Triple-S Steel Supply Co., said that while his business has not
been affected directly, changes at the federal and state level
are affecting the supply chain, which in turn affects his
regulation) is not affecting our company internally, but
its affecting our customers and our suppliers. Its
hurting those in mining because new regulations have crushed
the coal industry. Its hurting energy customers because
they cant get permits as fast as they couldve.
Its the aura of regulation on the whole economy," he
Outside of regulation,
others pointed to concern over how the global markets are
doing, particularly when it comes to a supply glut.
"The (global) steel
industry is facing a sizable overcapacity and that will have to
be addressed before any meaningful gain starts to take place
within the industry," Schmitt said.