NEW YORK Although the
spot market was quiet in the days leading up to the
Thanksgiving holiday, sheet buyers said that they have been
purchasing small volumes of flat-rolled products on an
"Were covered through
January, and over the next couple weeks well be looking
just at filling holes," one service center source told
AMM, noting that he had recently placed a "small"
order for hot-rolled sheet. "People have bought, and now
theyre waiting for it to come in."
As of midday Wednesday, other
spot buyers said that they had also booked small orders in the
vicinity of a few hundred tons of hot-rolled sheet, as well as
some cold-rolled and coated sheet products. Distributors said
they had ordered for specific needs, as most of their inventory
demands have already been met at least through year-end.
Steel service center sources
said that customers recently had been more active in the
market, sensing that prices for most flat-rolled material may
be poised to inch higher amid speculation that some U.S. steel
mills may be considering another increase on flat-rolled
products in the next two to three weeks. "Were pretty
busy, (though) were not at a nine or 10 on a scale of one
to 10," a second service center source said.
In mid-November, the spot price
of hot-rolled sheet, for example, rebounded to $32.25 per
hundredweight ($645 per ton) f.o.b. Midwest mill from an
average low of $29 per cwt ($580 per ton) in mid-October. The
uptick came as announced price increases in October and early
November found support in rising scrap prices and a need to
replenish stocks for many distributors (
amm.com, Oct. 16,
Now, with those stocks
replenished, sources have reported smaller transactions.
"Were buying what we
need," one East Coast manufacturer said, noting that he planned
to place a small order of hot-rolled material before the
Still, demand was hardly robust in the three days leading up
to Thanksgiving, sources said. "Its been so quiet, we
decided to take a half day," a third service center source told