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Starting off 2017 with a bang

From American Metal Market

U.S. steel distributors kicked off 2017 with a bang thanks to explosive demand in January that drove significantly higher shipment levels.

“This was the strongest January we’ve ever had, and I’ve been in business for 40 years,” said Jerry F. Henry Jr., president and chief executive officer of Paragon Steel Enterprises LLC and president of Midwest Pipe & Steel Inc. “… I’m bullish. The overall economy is good and our business is good.”

Henry told AMM he’s seen strong growth from original equipment manufacturers that cater to the construction market in particular.

Indeed, the year-on-year growth in service centers’ shipment levels highlights improving demand momentum in the construction, energy and industrial markets, according to analyst Philip Gibbs of Cleveland-based KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.

“We continue to see the largest non-automotive U.S. service centers as the largest beneficiaries to improving demand trends,” he said in a Feb. 15 research note.