LOS ANGELES Published
structural steel prices will remain steady into the new year as
the market leader in wide-flange beams this week announced
plans to hold prices unchanged for Jan. 1 shipments.
Nucor-Yamato Steel Co.,
Blytheville, Ark., will drop its raw materials surcharge for
January shipments by $1 per ton (5 cents per hundredweight)
while boosting its published base price by the same amount,
resulting in "no change in the transaction price for all
products" come 2013, it said in a Dec. 10 letter to
Nucor Corp.s Berkeley,
S.C., beam mill sent a similar letter to its customers
announcing its flat pricing for January.
The decision to keep prices
steady follows the lowering of AMMs consumer
buying price for automotive shredded scrap in the Chicago
market last week by just $1 to $386 per ton.
While the two remaining domestic
beam producersTampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North
America and the Columbia City, Ind.-based structural and rail
division of Steel Dynamics Inc.had yet to disclose their
January beam prices Tuesday, most market sources said they
expected them to follow suit.
would keep the published f.o.b. mill price on core beam sizes
at $780 per ton ($39 per cwt), according to a price sheet
posted on its website.
With some possible exceptions
involving project tonnage, the published price appears to be
holding for most day-to-day business, sources said, with buyers
seeing little incentive to test the mills determination
to maintain the published price. Some distributors pointed out
that theyre not inclined to waste time and effort
pursuing mill discounts on their limited year-end
"Were not laying in any
extra stock," a Midwest service center buyer said. "First,
were going to find out how the first quarter plays
Another market source stressed
that future beam pricing is likely to depend predominantly on
scrap tags rather than on actual demand for structurals, which
he doesnt see improving in the coming months. However,
some large distribution chains could soon reverse their
year-end inventory sell-offs and return to the market, sources
While most buyers see little
indication of a swift upturn in demand after the new year
following a flat or just slightly improved 2012, some market
sources pointed to what they believe is a rise in hiring by
construction and engineering firms looking for work on projects
that are likely to be released in 2013.
"Theres a lot of pent-up
demand out there" for nonresidential construction, one observer
said, referring to the prime market for large structurals.