Flat-rolled buying freeze putting a chill on pricing

Dec 05, 2006 | 09:26 AM | Scott Robertson

Buying activity for carbon flat-rolled steel products remains in a deep freeze, leading to steel price slippage, market sources said.

Spot market prices for hot-rolled, cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized sheet are falling as mills offer deals to move tons into a market stopped cold by an overall lack of purchasing activity, sources said.

"There really is nothing going on," a service center source in the Midwest said. "Prices are coming down because mills need to move their tons."

The so-called "Big Three" U.S. steel producers—Mittal Steel USA Inc., Chicago; U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh; and Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C.—continue to try to hold the line at higher pricing levels, but they also are beginning to offer lower prices in some cases, the sources said. Those mills had been holding hot-rolled prices at about $30 per hundredweight ($600 a ton) but have come off those numbers in the past couple of weeks. Smaller mills that had been selling hot-rolled at $28 per cwt ($560 a ton) also have dropped prices.....

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