NEW YORK The price of
cut-to-length plate was unchanged in the past week as buyers
and sellers reported limited market activity.
"Prices are in a holding
pattern. Theyre not falling any further; theyre not
rising," one mill source said.
Cut-to-length plate is around
$780 per ton ($39 per hundredweight) f.o.b. Midwest mill,
unchanged from levels earlier this month when domestic mills
announced price increases of $50 per ton on plate products (
amm.com, Aug. 16).
"Nothings happening," a
source at one fabricator said. "Everybodys waiting on the
U.S. Steel and Arcelor(Mittal) labor negotiations."
Falling iron ore prices and a
sideways scrap market in September would not lend support to
rising prices, sources said. But looming over the market is the
prospect of a work stoppage if negotiations fail to produce a
new contract at either Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. or
Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA Inc. by Sept. 1, which likely
would send prices surging, sources said.
Amid the uncertainty, sources
agreed that prices appear to have reached a floor.
"The discrete (plate) side has
bottomed out," one service center source said, adding that
cut-to-length and coiled plate prices have stabilized while
strip mill plate prices have begun to rise.
ArcelorMittal produces a range
of plate products and U.S. Steel produces strip mill plate.
A second Midwest service center
source said that it was too soon following the price
announcements to know if the higher prices would stick.
In an update to members Friday,
the United Steelworkers union negotiating team confirmed that
no agreement has yet been reached with U.S. Steel or
ArcelorMittal. Addressing a market rumor, the USW also noted
that ArcelorMittal has not requested an extension of the
contract set to expire Sept. 1, nor has one been agreed to.
The USWs U.S. Steel
negotiating committee said in a separate statement to members
dated Aug. 22 that it continues to make "steady" progress.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Steel
declined to comment on the negotiations and a spokeswoman for
ArcelorMittal did not respond to a request for comment.