SBQ lead times shrink on low demand

Sep 13, 2012 | 04:18 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  special bar quality, SBQ, raw material surcharge, price change, Nucor, long products, Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — Announced price increases for special bar quality (SBQ) steel products appear to have stuck in large part in September, although buyer sources question how long prices will hold up in the second half of the year, given increased supply and lackluster demand.

"Demand moving into year-end looks weak. And customers think scrap will go down so they’ll wait for the price to go down, especially if they don’t need material now," said one bar distributor, who cited lead times of six to eight weeks.

Other market sources, some of whom said demand had declined markedly since July, said lead times for SBQ were as low as four to six weeks.

On the pricing front, Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker Nucor Corp. said it would lower its raw material surcharge on SBQ to $217 per ton ($10.85 per hundredweight), a decrease of $33 per ton ($1.65 per cwt), effective with shipments Oct. 1, according to a letter dated Wednesday. Some sources said the decrease was less than they had expected, and they had not seen any immediate changes in the market as a result of the move.....

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