NEW YORK Carbon steel
plate pricing appears poised to climb higher, sources said, but
just how high remains uncertain as many spot buyers are holding
off booking material for January.
"You know, if lead times are
running roughly four weeks, its probably next week at the
earliest that people are going to be talking about January,"
one mill source said.
Service center spot buyers
confirmed expectations of higher prices when conversations
about January orders commence, but those negotiations
havent yet started, they said.
"We saw part of (the first price
increase) here, but well have to wait and see what
happens with next year," one service center source said.
The average price of
cut-to-length carbon plate rose in mid-November to $35 per
hundredweight ($700 per ton) f.o.b. Midwest mill, up $1 per cwt
($20 per ton) since domestic plate mills announced two rounds
of increases starting the first week of November totaling
"I expect well see higher
prices for January," a second service center source said.
However, steel plate buyers said
theyre doubtful those higher prices will represent the
full $100 per ton from the November increases
(amm.com, Nov. 26). Many have said that the second
$50-per-ton announcement will likely only serve to secure the
full amount of the first increase, also $50 per ton.
Most sources said Thursday it
still remains unclear whether lackluster demand for domestic
plate products can support the whole $100-per-ton price
increase, even though ordering is expected to see a seasonal
pickup in January.
"Its week by week," a second mill source said, noting
that establishing a floor for carbon plate pricing helped
prompt some buying from service centers and project-based
buyers, but suppliers otherwise havent seen much change
in end-user demand.