LOS ANGELES A glut of
carbon steel plate inventory could continue to drag the West
Coast market down through year-end.
"Theres still just too
much plate hanging around here, and unfortunately too much of
that is lying in my warehouse," one distributor said,
estimating it could take at least a month to work off the
Not including the latest
announced round of $50-per-ton hikes, the quoted base price for
warehouse grades and sizes of discrete plate from domestic
mills east of the Rockies to medium-sized service centers is
estimated at $830 to $850 per ton ($41.50 to $42.50 per
hundredweight) delivered. However, for many distributors,
buying has slowed to a trickle in a resale market that they say
continues to be weighed down by heavy import inventories.
Moreover, plate rolled on the
West Coast from foreign slabswhich normally dont
fall under domestic-melt "Buy America" restrictionshas
reportedly been offered at $760 to $780 per ton ($38 to $39 per
Market sources also said
theyre no longer getting quotes on a regular basis from
South Korea, the regions largest offshore plate supplier,
amid indications that its mills fear possible trade actions by
domestic producers stemming from aggressive import pricing
earlier in the year.
The pace of imports on the West
Coast this yearwhich peaked at 22,079 tons in
Junecontinued to lose steam in September to log its
greatest month-on-month decline, with total arrivals of
cut-to-length plate falling 53.5 percent to 9,974 tons from
21,431 tons in August, according to SteelFacts.
Moreover, imports from South
Korea plummeted to 1,461 tons in September, down 78.2 percent
from 6,704 tons the prior month. Imports from Japan, while also
down sharply, were still greater than South Koreas.
Shipments to the region from Japan totaled 2,391 tons in
September, down 69.3 percent from 7,795 tons in August.
West Coast imports of
cut-to-length plate totaled 147,053 tons during the first nine
months of the year, up 46.6 percent from 100,275 tons in
the same 2011 period.