Bloomberg reported that Touradji Capital Management LP, the New York hedge fund firm that oversees about USD 2.7 billion, bought steel companies in the fourth quarter as the government’s cash for clunkers program helped lift demand for the metal.

According to a filing with regulators that shows equity holdings at the end of December 2009, Touradji bought shares in AK Steel Holdings Corporation, United States Steel Corporation, Steel Dynamics Inc and Nucor Corporation valued at a combined USD 50.8 million.

Mr Timna Tanners, an analyst with UBS Securities LLC in New York, said that “The US auto industry had to play catch up and accelerate steel purchases. This restocking need got additional urgency from the cash for clunkers program, whose demand was stronger and more immediate than expected.”

The Institute for Supply Management said on February 1st 2010 that its index of nationwide manufacturing employment increased in January to the highest level since 2006.

According to Purchasing Magazine, steel prices began rebounding in the second half of last year after dropping to a five year low in June on weak demand. The US steel industry’s utilization increased from more than 60% at the end of the year to 67% for the week ended January 30th 2010.

Touradji Capital invests in commodities and raw materials companies. Hedge funds are mostly private pools of capital whose managers participate substantially in the profit from speculation on whether the price of assets will rise or fall.

(Sourced from