The steel industry is a very tough place to be in right now. There is still great uncertainty when it comes to raw-stock pricing, with steel mills keeping mum about the short-term landed costs of various steel products. It appears they are taking their lead from overseas markets, which are very erratic. Again, ‘off-the-floor’ stock availability is problematic. Gone are the days when you pick up a price list, apply your set discount, order your steel sections and, two days’ later, they arrive at your factory.
Now my buyers have their days occupied by phoning all the mills in the hope that they have the product we require, and at fair market value. Don’t hold your breath for the necessary length … It is a ‘take it, or leave it’ scenario. The current political and economic situation has left many construction investors on the fence. They seem to be waiting out this period of uncertainty, until at least after the election. I believe we will see a slight recovery in orders in the fourth quarter of this year, with a more robust recovery in early 2020.