LOS ANGELES Domestic
flat-rolled steel prices continue to edge up on the West Coast
despite stiff competition from abroad.
The regions two major
flat-rolled producersFontana, Calif.-based California
Steel Industries Inc. and Pittsburg, Calif.-based USS-Posco
Industrieshave not formally issued an industrywide
September price increase announcement. However, sources report
the mills have nonetheless started pushing for higher prices
when they sit down with customers to sign new spot deals.
"Were negotiating with
everybody," said a mill source of September business.
The informal push for higher
prices for September comes on the heels of a $40-per-ton
increase announced by the regions mills in July for
August material, a move that market sources say has been
partially successful (
amm.com, July 23).
As a result, some West Coast
buyers said their September prices from domestic mills are
anywhere from $20 to $50 per ton ($1 to $2.50 per
hundredweight) higher than they were prior to the last
increase, depending on the product and their volume
Hot-rolled sheet is reportedly
in the range of $700 to $730 per ton ($35 to $36.50 per cwt),
while cold-rolled coil has been reported at $770 to $800 per
ton ($38.50 to $40 per cwt). The base price for galvanized is
said to be slightly higher.
But despite renewed domestic
strength, foreign mills continue to keep the pressure on
prices, and some buyers maintain their latest quotes from
traders are the lowest theyve seen in months.
"As far as were concerned,
the idea of an overall price increase for this market is an
exaggeration," said a manufacturer, citing the impact of
Hot-rolled coil from South Korea
has been reported as low as $640 to $660 per ton ($32 to $33
per cwt) for expected arrival in late October or November, with
Mexican hot-rolled in the upper end of this price range.
Meanwhile, Chinese cold-rolled for arrival in November or early
December is said to be as low as $700 to $720 per ton ($35 to
$36 per cwt), West Coast market sources said.
Sources are now wondering how
much lower imported prices could go. Some noted that
cold-rolled in Chinanot necessarily produced by the
largest millsis changing hands at a price roughly
equivalent to $560 per ton ($28 per cwt) on an f.o.b. mill
basis, and could theoretically be sent to the West Coast for as
low as $620 ($31 per cwt), not including traders profit