NEW YORK The recent round
of steel sheet price hike announcements has led to higher
quotes across the board, though whether the firmer tags will
stick in the wake of a significant drop in the benchmark scrap
price remains to be seen, market players say.
Supplier and distributor sources
told AMM that mill sales representatives appeared to
be sticking to the higher quotes for flat-rolled steel products
in the days following the announcements, with most hot-rolled
band quotes currently ranging from $31.50 to $32 per
hundredweight ($630 to $640 per ton). That compares to about
$30 per cwt ($600 per ton) or less in the days leading up to
the $40-a-ton increase attempts.
"They seem to be holding the
line," a Midwest service center source said.
A second Midwest service center
source confirmed that most mills appeared to be seeking the
higher numbers, noting that he had received two quotes from
domestic steelmakers this week that represented the $40-per-ton
increases announced last week.
According to mill and consumer
sources, last weeks announcements spurred some buying,
which might push out lead times and lend support to the
But a significant drop in the
benchmark ferrous scrap price could threaten to derail the
recent round of steel sheet price hikes, sources said. On
Tuesday, AMM lowered its No. 1 busheling price for
Chicagoused as the basis for some mills
surchargesby $43 per ton (AMM, July 11).
"The fact that scrap is down is
very discouraging for the increases," the second distributor
"We are seeing some (pushback)"
because of the falling scrap market, a mill source confirmed.
He noted that customers have bought at the higher levels
Others, however, said they are
still holding off from buying as the falling price of scrap
input costs could still threaten the sheet price.
"Its really too soon to
tell" where flat-rolled tags will stabilize, the first Midwest
service center source said.
The July 9 SteelBenchmarker
report, released Wednesday, confirmed that steel prices have
stopped their fall, but they did not show much sign of a
pickup. The price of hot-rolled band was relatively unchanged
at $669 per tonne ($607 per short ton) vs. $670 per tonne ($608
per ton) two weeks earlier.
Likewise, cold-rolled coil was
little changed at $780 per tonne ($707 per ton), compared with
$779 per tonne ($707 per ton) previously.