NEW YORK A number of
major steelmakers have thrown their weight behind a carbon
flat-rolled price increase as they look to reverse weeks of
ArcelorMittal USA Inc. said it
will raise minimum base prices for all carbon flat-rolled steel
products effective immediately as it looks to restore "a fair
value for (its) products and services," according to a letter
sent to customers.
The Chicago-based steelmaker
said its new base price for hot-rolled steel is $650 per ton
($32.50 per hundredweight), its new cold-rolled price is $750
per ton ($37.50 per cwt) and its new hot-dipped galvanized
price is $760 per ton ($38 per cwt). The new minimum prices are
in effect until Feb. 6, ArcelorMittal said in the letter.
A number of sources said the
company attributed the need to raise prices to "market
manipulation" and discounting of a major price index, which
ArcelorMittal said has had a "dampening effect on industry spot
The company did not respond to
requests for comment.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel
Corp. also is said to have raised prices, with its sheet prices
reportedly slated to rise $50 per ton ($2.50 per cwt), a number
of buyers told AMM. U.S. Steel did not return calls
Other mills confirmed to
AMM that they also intend to raise their own prices by
$50 per ton later this week.
The mills increases come
two days after AK Steel Corp. led with a $40-per-ton
($2-per-cwt) increase on Jan. 21 (
amm.com, Jan. 22).
With more mills throwing their
weight behind the increase, a hike will likely be "universally
supported" by other mills, one buyer said. "I think the mills
are saying enough is enoughthey just want to stop the
"The mills would be stupid to
not try. If there are a couple of big boys doing it, why not
give it a shot?" said a second buyer, noting that most of his
suppliers were nonetheless still offering discounts.
But others said that whether the
announced increases will stick in full or in part remains to be
"With what everyone is saying, I
dont believe a word of this (price hike)," a third buyer
said. "The mills need to put their game face on and hold
prices. The problem is that they always cut deals."