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THE U.S. ECONOMY IS IN THE TANK AND YOUR ORDER BOOK HAS TOO MANY BLANK PAGES. SO WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD??????? 

WE ARE ALL MAD AS HELL BUT WHAT GOOD DOES THAT DO US? THE PIPE AND TUBE MARKET IS IN THE PROVERBIAL CRAPPER. IN THESE TOUGH TIMES, THE BUYER'S WE ANTICIPATED TO ARRIVE EARLY SPRING ARE STILL STAYING ON THE SIDELINES. INVENTORIES ARE HIGHER THAN WE WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT, BUT IT'S TOO LATE TO CRY OVER SPILT MILK. THERE IS NO NEED TO DECRY THE SITUATION FURTHER OR TO POINT FINGERS AT THOSE RESPONSIBLE. WE ARE ALL FEELING THE PAIN AND LET'S LEAVE IT AT THAT.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO OCCUR IN THE PIPE AND TUBE MARKET FOR THE BALANCE OF 2009 AND INTO 2010? I HAVE GIVEN THIS QUESTION SOME SERIOUS THOUGHT AND ANALYSIS AND HERE GOES MY ANSWER.

THE MARKET, I BELEIVE, HAS NEARLY BOTTOMED OUT. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN STEEL PRODUCTION IS DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY WITH MANY PLANTS CLOSED TEMPORARILY AND A FEW PERMANENTLY. INVENTORIES ARE STARTING TO SLOWLY DECLINE BUT WILL ACCELERATE AS PRICES BEGIN TO RISE. THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT DEMAND IS STARTING TO AWAKE FROM A COMA AND IN A MONTH OR TWO SHOULD ONCE AGAIN BE FUNCTIONING. DOES THIS MEAN BUSINESS AS USUAL? ABOLUTELY NOT! DEMAND AND SUPPLY WILL HAVE TO ADJUST BUT OVER A PERIOD OF SIX-NINE MONTHS EXPECT PRICES TO RISE 5 - 15% OR EVEN MUCH HIGHER FROM TODAY'S LEVELS. GALVANIZED PIPE PRODUCTS COULD INCREASE IN PRICE FASTER THAN BLACK, AS A RESULT OF THE DECREASE IN IMPORTS AND DOMESTIC PRODUCERS LIMITED PRODUCTION OF ZINC COATED PRODUCTS.

THE GOVERNMENT'S STIMULUS PROGRAM OVER TIME SHOULD PLAY A DRAMATIC FACTOR TO GENERATE A PENT UP DEMAND SCENARIO IN WHICH AVAILABLE SUPPLY IN ALL STEEL CATEGORIES IS LIMITED, AS PRODUCERS AND MANUFACTURERS RUSH TO TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON. THE CATALYST TO MY OPTIMISTIC PROGNOSTICATION IS WALL STREET'S CONFIRMATION THAT THE ECONOMY IS STABILIZING, EVIDENCED BY A SUSTAINED BULL MARKET RETURNING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ATTRACTIVE STOCK PRICES IN ENERGY, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, TRANSPORTATION, THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY AND HEALTH CARE. THIS I BELIEVE IS ALREADY IN PROGRESS. ONCE THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG THE END USERS OF PIPE WILL START BUYING UP PIPE INVENTORIES NEEDED FOR ONCE DEFERRED PROJECTS OR NEW ONES GENERATED BY FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.

THE AUTO INDUSTRY DOWNSIZING AND REORGANIZATION SHOULD BY YEAR END ALSO INCREASE STEEL DEMAND AS CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INCREASES AND NEW AUTOS ARE PURCHASED. THE BANKS WILL NEED TO SUPPORT THE RECOVERY WITH LOANS TO CONSUMERS AND LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES. SURE THE BANKERS WILL TAKE THE HIGH ROAD INCREASING THEIR CREDIT REQUIREMENTS AND DOWN PAYMENTS BUT EXPECT GOVERNMENT TO KEEP PRESSURE ON THEM TO RELEASE THE TARP MONEY INTO THE MARKET TO QUALIFIED BORROWERS, ESPECIALLY FOR HOME AND CAR PURCHASES.

THE NEGATIVENESS ON OUR ECONOMY IS STARTING TO BECOME OLD NEWS. IT IS TIME FOR POSITIVE THINKING AND ACTION TO TAKE ROOT. ONCE IT DOES WE WILL BE ABLE TO WIPE THE DUST OFF OUR ORDER BOOK.