End-user demand has not improved as the economic recovery has stalled. However, customers have allowed their inventories to sink to very low levels and so need to order some material. Despite mill announcements of increases, flat product transaction values have started to decline once more, following September’s brief upturn. The fourth quarter is historically weak and producers are aware that prices could contract even more. Foreign offers are lacking.
Canadian consumption remains quite depressed. Buyers, anticipating a downward price trend to the year end, are holding off from purchasing. The steelmakers, facing a cost squeeze, may need to reduce output in order to establish a better supply/demand balance. Customers’ inventories are adequate for current usage and they intend to keep them to a minimum, in the face of potential stock devaluation from tumbling market prices. Offshore selling values did fall over the past couple of months but offers are starting to rise again.