The Fastener Industry
New studies on the fastener industry have not been published since 2010. Therefore, our best available data keeps U.S. fastener projection in the $11 – 12 B range and U.S. consumption at $12 – 13 B. Imports were roughly $4 B and exports increased significantly to over $3 B, largely due to the weak dollar versus the euro. Freedonia’s projection that world consumption would exceed $80 B by 2014 has gone unchanged, but that growth will be largely in emerging economies. Plant utilization has been projected to be 73%, up nearly 10% from 2010, and would be higher if there was trained labor available to make that happen. The fastener industry in N. America was almost universally profitable running as close to flat out as resources allowed. With a few very notable exceptions, not a lot of new capacity was added. Inventory turns were 4.4 continuing to tie up a lot of cash in the industry. Raw material prices stabilized in the second half of the year at moderate prices, well below the highs seen in March, as did the price of heavy melting and busheling scrap ($402 and $486 per ton in late December 2011). We are told that the “wild cards” in the steel price and availability for 2012 are if there is any unexpected high buying of U.S. scrap by China or Turkey and the ceiling on wire processing capacity which will exist in the immediate future.
For more economic information and data on the US fastener industry download the complete 2011 report.