NEW YORK More domestic mills have joined AK Steel Corp. and Nucor Corp. in announcing price increases on flat-rolled steel products, mill and distributor sources confirmed.
Portage, Ind.-based NLMK USA Inc. began informing customers by telephone Tuesday that it will increase sheet prices by $50 per ton, AMM understands.
Other North American flat-rolled producers also were said to be telling customers Tuesday and Wednesday that they would be following suit, effective immediately. Numerous customers said that mill representatives from U.S. Steel Corp., ArcelorMittal USA Inc. and Essar Steel Algoma Inc. informed them Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday of their plans to follow the increase.
Each mill was said to be increasing prices by the same $50 per ton announced by AK Steel and Nucor earlier this week, effective immediately on all new orders (amm.com, Nov. 6). "Theyre all falling in line," one distributor source told AMM.
Steel buyers said that the increases place the new book prices of hot-rolled sheet at between $32.50 and $33.50 per hundredweight ($650 to $670 per ton) f.o.b. mill, although whether the full increase sticks remains to be seen, particularly since spot buys are expected to remain minimal through the end of the quarter, sources said.
But the timing also correlates with a rise in ferrous scrap prices and planning for next year for contractual buyers, sources said, giving the hikes some possible staying power.
"What this will do is force the hand on these contract negotiations" for the first quarter of 2013, the distributor source said. "Anybody holding out for lower numbersthats evaporating."