Steel Products

ISM Steel Buyers Survey

Written by Sandy Williams

Written by: Sandy Williams

In the December ISM Steel Buyers Survey, 54.5 percent of respondents reported having inventory on hand to cover shipping levels for 1-2 month, 18.2 percent said 0-1 months and 27.3 percent for 2-3 months. Compared to levels 12 months ago, 36.4 percent said tons on hand were about the same as last year and 27.3 percent said tons at hand were up 10 percent or more. Receipts are expected by 63.6 percent to remain the same for the next three months and 27.3 percent expect a decrease. Inventory is keeping pace with demand for 63.6 percent of respondents and too high for 36.4 percent. More than half, 54.5 percent, of those surveyed expect to decrease inventory over the next six months while 36.4 percent expect to maintain current inventory levels.

Shipping levels were reported down from last quarter and from one year ago by 63.6 percent of respondents. Prices remain competitive for 54.5 percent of buyers and weak or very weak for 36 percent of respondents.

Most do not expect company expansion through building or buying for 2013. When asked about new hires, respondents were evenly split at 50 percent. Short time and layoff was not an issue for 94 percent of those surveyed.

The trend in new orders is expected by 48.7 percent of respondents to be the same over the next three months while the rest of those surveyed are evenly split on whether orders will go up or down.

The trend of general economic activity is expected to improve over the next six months by 36.4 percent while another 36.4 percent expect it to stay the same. Most expect sales and production to stay the same in the industry for the next six months.

Pricing by foreign mill was seen to be similar to domestic levels and activity by foreign mills seeking U.S. business appears normal.

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