LOS ANGELES Steel beam
buyers expect U.S. mills to keep their published prices flat
this month despite a slight dip in a benchmark scrap
price, they said.
AMM this past week
lowered its consumer buying price for automotive shredded scrap
in the Chicago marketused as the basis for some
mills raw material surchargesby $10 per ton to $430
per ton (AMM, April 6).
Last month, the Chicago shredded
scrap price remained unchanged, encouraging producers to keep
the published mill f.o.b. transaction price for core sizes of
wide-flange beams level at $840 per ton ($42 per
hundredweight). Although a significant drop in the benchmark
price often translates into lower beam prices, most buyers said
this months $10 drop is likely not enough to trigger a
change in official beam tags.
not going to change," one service center executive forecast of
beam prices upon hearing of the new scrap benchmark. "It would
just put instability into the market to go up or down when
scrap moves $10 a ton."
But buyers also cautioned that
continued stability depends on the current range of discounts
not expanding significantly beyond the outer limit of about $3
per cwt below the published price.
"As the price of scrap goes
down, theres more pressure to increase discounts," one
distributor said. "If the mills can keep their discounting in
this restricted range, theres no reason for more
Meanwhile, South Korea and
Luxembourg appear largely responsible for an 18-percent rise in
beam import permit applications to about 18,200 tonnes for
March vs. preliminary February imports, according to U.S.
Commerce Department data.
South Korea submitted
applications for nearly 9,133 tonnes in March, up 35.1 percent
from preliminary February arrivals, according to data through
April 3. Luxembourgs permit requests for March nearly
tripled to almost 6,031 tons, mostly in standard beams, the