LOS ANGELES South Korea
appears on track to maintain its role as the United
States top foreign source of wide-flange steel beams this
month, already sprinting ahead to a comfortable lead in the
first 10 days of April.
South Korea accounted for 8,467
tonnesor 98.6 percentof all import license
applications submitted for this month through April 10 in the
main category of wide-flange beams, according to Commerce
In March, South Korea accounted
for about 9,100 tonnesor 68 percentof wide-flange
import license applications, while in February, it represented
about 6,800 tonnesor 56 percentof preliminary
imports, according to Commerce data. In January, Spain was the
largest offshore beam source.
Market sources said that at
their highest discounts, South Korean beams were being offered
for arrival on the West Coast at just under $800 per ton ($40
per hundredweight) ex-dock. This compares with a current
domestic published f.o.b. mill base for core beam sizes of $42
per cwt ($840 per ton). That price does not include shipping,
which can add another $3.50 to $5 per cwt, depending on the
destination and other factors.
Some market sources cite such
aggressive import pricing, presumably to large service center
buyers, as one of the reasons for continuing "foreign fighter"
discounting by some domestic mills.
Meanwhile, market sources say they have seen some of the
first offers from a new source of beams, as well as other long
products: Mexico. They estimated initial delivered prices on a
limited range of small beams at as low as $36 per cwt to the
West Coast. While described by one observer as "extremely low,"
others think this could represent an introductory price that
could go up in the future.