Line in the sand halts US flat-roll slide

Mar 22, 2012 | 04:43 PM | Anne Riley

Tags  steel sheet prices, baseline steel price increases, price slide, price stability, market reaction, Anne Riley

PITTSBURGH — An across-the-board push to raise steel sheet prices at the mill level has halted a multiweek slide in the domestic market, but whether the announced hikes have actually translated into higher selling prices remains to be seen.

"They’ve drawn a line in the sand, so to speak, and I think it’s a good line to draw. The issue is going to be whether or not they buckle," one northern service center source said. "I believe the price levels they’ve announced are reasonable and at the end of the day should be supported, but time will tell."

A number of U.S. steelmakers have announced $30- to $50-per-ton price increases in the past week, with a handful setting a new minimum baseline price of $35 per hundredweight ($700 per ton) as they look to establish a new floor (AMM, March 19). Before the announcements, hot-rolled sheet prices had dipped to a range of $33.50 to $34.50 per cwt ($670 to $690 per ton) from a recent cycle high of $37.50 per cwt ($750 per ton), with some uncharacteristic sales reported at as low as $32.75 per cwt ($655 per ton) f.o.b. Midwest mill.....

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