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West Coast structural steel tube prices increase

Keywords: Tags  steel, West Coast, structural steel, tubing, hollow structural sections, HSS, South Korea, Los Angeles Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — West Coast structural steel tubing producers appear to be achieving at least partial success in scratching out a price hike amid slow demand that leaves room for occasional discounting by tonnage-hungry mills.

Core sizes of A500 Grade B hollow structural sections are increasingly being sold at $960 to $980 per ton ($48 to $49 per cwt) in the Los Angeles market, sources report.

While this is about $20 per ton ($1 per cwt) greater than an earlier nominal level of $940 to $960 per ton ($47 to $48 per cwt), it nevertheless represents a larger hike from prices that fell as low as $920 per ton ($46 per cwt) in early November.

Local mills’ $40-per-ton hikes, due to rising costs, were slated to go into effect beginning with orders ranging from Nov. 12 to Nov. 19 and affecting shipments through various dates, depending on the mill (, Nov. 20). Market sources said some of those shipment deadlines stretched into this week.

“Everyone wants this increase to catch on, including us,” a distributor said. But a number of sources acknowledged that the current level of demand is so low that few requirements are large enough to seriously challenge the mills’ resolve to cement the increase.

While some industry sources insist that “very few mills are blinking,” market sources maintain that the increase is less than complete, with material still being offered at prices close to the previous, lower market levels.

While buyers await a new round of offers from this region’s main offshore tubing source, South Korea, import buying is reportedly constrained, with material at sharp discounts to domestic prices.
Tubing currently being shipped from South Korea was reportedly sold as low as $760 to $780 per ton ($38 to $39 per cwt) earlier in the year. But some buyers said that lately it hasn’t been unusual to learn that certain sizes they had ordered are unavailable for shipment.

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