Hot-band tags in limbo as buyers look for floor

May 11, 2011 | 06:15 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  Benchmarker, steel, hot-rolled band, plate, scrap, U.S., Western Europe, China

TORONTO — U.S. hot-rolled band spot prices are continuing to fall, and some market sources suggest that the only real question is how far they’ll drop before reaching bottom. But others said the decline is only temporary and predicted a quick uptick.

Running counter to the rest of the world, U.S. band prices fell to $916 per tonne ($831 per ton) f.o.b. mill, according to data released Wednesday by SteelBenchmarker, down 3.7 percent from $951 per tonne ($863 per ton) just two weeks earlier. Cold-rolled sheet is around $1,017 per tonne ($923 per ton), down 2.7 percent from $1,045 per tonne ($948 per ton) in the same comparison, and standard plate fell 1.6 percent to $1,173 per tonne ($1,064 per ton) from $1,192 per tonne ($1,081 per ton).

Scrap prices delivered to U.S. mills also slid, SteelBenchmarker said. No. 1 heavy melting scrap fell 1 percent to $385 per tonne from $389; No. 1 busheling was off 1.4 percent to $453 per tonne from $460; and shredded scrap slid 2.6 percent to $420 per tonne from $431.

"We knew this was going to happen," one service center source in the South said. "It was way overshot on the way up. Now we’re in a messy period where we’re going to find out how far this thing is going to fall."....

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