NEW YORK Stainless steel
distributors have largely welcomed the price increases slated
for the beginning of 2013 on flat-rolled stainless products,
even though most say its too early to tell whether they
"Its good because
surcharges are supposed to go down again in December," one West
Coast stainless distributor said. "Id like to see the
prices firm up, but right now its hard to predict
(whether they will stick)."
"I hope they stick, but it
remains to be seen," an East Coast distributor said.
Sources said the increases,
which for most products will be achieved by reducing functional
discounts by four percentage points (
amm.com, Nov. 15), are significant. "In the past
the standard has been a two-point reduction," one southern
While most sources polled
didnt necessarily believe that recent demand levels would
support an increase of that magnitude, with the East Coast
source calling recent demand "so-so," the latest figures from
the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) show a significant
rise in stainless shipments in October.
Distributors deliveries of
stainless products totaled 157,200 tons, a 10.6-percent
increase from 142,100 tons in October last year and the
second-highest shipping month in 2012, according to MSCI
figures. As a result of the higher shipments, inventory levels
dropped to 2.7 months supply from 3.0 months at the end
of September and 2.8 months a year earlier.
However, year-to-date shipments
of nearly 1.51 million tons are 1.1 percent lower than more
than 1.52 million tons in the first 10 months of last year,
MSCI figures show.