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Flat-rolled sheet prices begin to slide

Keywords: Tags  steel sheet, steel prices, flat-rolled sheet, Chris Prentice, Anne Riley

DEARBORN, Mich. — U.S. flat-rolled sheet tags have started to slide, steel market participants said.

The baseline hot-rolled sheet transaction price was predominantly reported at $33.75 per hundredweight ($675 per ton) this week, down from $34.50 per cwt ($690 per ton) previously, as buyers found material readily available amid short lead times, high mill capacity and steady demand, sources told AMM.

"It’s the same story that there’s plenty of capacity, plenty of supply and demand remains strong," one Midwest service center source said.

Sources also cited a flat scrap market (AMM, May 3) and anticipation of a summer lull as contributing factors.

"Lead times are short and we’re heading into a slow part of the year. . . . We’re sensing that (prices are) coming off. It’s reflective of the late spring-early summer lull where automotive shutdowns are just around the corner, and people have already bought their May and a good chunk of their June (material), so they can play the waiting game," a second Midwest service center source said.

"The industry (is) running in the upper-70-percent (capacity) range. I think there is a little too much being made," one mill source said.

Whether the slide will continue is unclear, sources said.

"We’ll just continue to buy as we need. . . . "When things start to slide and people don’t start buying, it’ll slide even further," the second service center source said.

"There’s no real good reason for it to get worse, because consumption is not getting worse," the mill source added.

Anne Riley, New York, contributed to this article.

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  • May 04, 2012

    We have already seen mills scheduling prolonged outages in the second and third quarters. This is to remove some of the supply and strengthen pricing. Look for this slide to end the beginning of the 4th quarter, just in time for contract negotiations.

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