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.
"Its the same story that theres 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 were heading into a slow part of the year. . . . Were sensing that (prices are) coming off. Its 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.
"Well just continue to buy as we need. . . . "When things start to slide and people dont start buying, itll slide even further," the second service center source said.
"Theres 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.