“Our steel price index has been trending quite flat since last year. Steel demand looks optimistic for some, but not that bright for others. The US steel industry had better-than-expected performance during the second half of 2013, but a brighter future is still not certain.”
Our steel MMI had literally not changed by July and was experiencing a phenomenon we dubbed “remarkable flatness.”
- Despite the flat prices, big steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal and Nucor found a way to make a profit, mostly through economies of scale.
- Regional metal service centers such as Klein Steel used design-for-manufacturing to offer more services for parts customers.
- Foreign steel imports into the US jumped 56% this year netting 3.8 million tons through July.
- Bolstered by strong profit margins, steel manufacturer stocks shot up in June and a group-up price rebound might soon follow.
It’s not as if the steel story is over with a quarter of the year left. 2013 saw a late-year price surge and all of the market conditions necessary exist to for another late-year rally. Steel gets an incomplete so far, so stay tuned.