Despite price hikes, imports not tempting steel traders

Dec 08, 2010 | 12:45 PM |

The U.S. steel industry need not worry about an influx of steel sheet imports in the next few months, despite multiple price increases by domestic producers, trade experts said.

The rapid run-up in sheet-steel pricing—exacerbated by three announced price hikes in the last three weeks alone—is not yet enough to spark foreign traders to send significant amounts of flat-rolled product to buyers to the United States, traders said.

"The pricing dislocation between world market prices and U.S. prices is not sufficient to encourage imports," an East Coast trader said. "The other issue is whether there is sufficient domestic demand to support increases. My guess is not."

Domestic flat-rolled carbon producers recently lifted prices of hot-rolled to $640 per ton and cold-rolled to $760 per ton (AMM, Dec. 6). Nucor announced yet another hike that would raise the hot-rolled price to $680 per ton and the cold-rolled price to $800 a ton if the increase is accepted by the market (AMM Dec. 8).....

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