CHICAGO Domestic tube mills have slated price hikes of at least $40 per ton ($2 per hundredweight) on hollow structural sections (HSS) and mechanical tube products, although market sources remain mixed on whether the effort will succeed.
The latest round of increases started with Atlas Tube Inc., a subsidiary of Chicago-based JMC Steel Group Inc., which on Thursday told customers it would boost prices by a minimum of $40 per ton for all HSS shapes through 12 inches square and HSS rounds through 20 inches in outside diameter. The move was effective with new orders, but orders already on the books would be kept at current prices through Nov. 26 shipments, it said.
Also announcing hikes of at least $40 per ton under similar terms were ExlTube Co., North Kansas City, Mo.; Independence Tube Corp., Chicago; Maruichi Leavitt Pipe & Tube LLC, Chicago; Southland Tube Inc., Birmingham, Ala.; and Welded Tube of Canada Ltd., Concord, Ontario.
Other HSS mills were also said to have increased prices, but AMM hadnt seen letters from them by Friday.
While Chesterfield, Mo.-based Bull Moose Tube Co. was the first to announce a price hike of $40 per ton (amm.com, Oct. 23), that increase might not have gained widespread traction in the market until Atlaswhich typically leads pricing moves in HSSput its weight behind the move.
Bull Moose cited rising raw material costs for its increase, while Atlas and other mills did not. But the push to boost HSS tags $40 per ton comes after domestic coil mills announced plans to lift prices for their products by the same amount (amm.com, Oct. 17).
"This will absolutely put a floor on the HSS price decreases that have been going on for the last four weeks or so," one distributor said.
AMM changed its price for HSS earlier this month to $870 per ton ($43.50 per cwt) from $920 per ton ($46 per cwt) previously to reflect those declines.
But other market sources strongly disagreed that downward pressure on prices had eased, citing HSS tags as low as $820 to $840 per ton ($41 to $42 per cwt). "Prices are ridiculously low, so (domestic mills) needed to do something," a second distributor said. "But this wont set a floor. There will still be tons of negotiating going on."
One service center source said the market would ultimately decide whether the increase might be successful. "The (tubing mills) are jumping on what the flat-rolled guys have done, so if (price hikes) stick in flat-rolled (coil, the substrate used to make welded tubulars like HSS), they will stick in tubing," he said.