North American steel price declines are forecast to continue into the beginning of next year, according to British metals research firm MEPS. A modest revival in transaction values is then predicted for the second quarter of 2009.

Increases in raw material costs in 2009 are likely to encourage the domestic mills to implement price advances, say the researchers. Slower growth rates in steel consumption are likely to forestall substantial hikes, however.

Deteriorating economic conditions could delay a rebound in steel prices but a modest recovery is anticipated for the first half of next year. A small increase in raw material costs is expected during 2009. Consequently, mills will almost certainly attempt to push through steel price advances.