NEW YORK Primary
stainless steel prices recorded mixed trends for February as
market activity slowly increased from Januarys
Prices for cold-rolled sheet are
around $1.35 per pound, down from $1.40 a month ago, while 316
cold-rolled sheet is around $1.87 per pound, down from $1.90
"The mills have announced
pricing increases, but theyre struggling to make them
hold," one southern stainless steel distributor said. "Lead
times are not far out. I think theyre about four to five
weeks, which is pretty soft for domestic."
However, the softening price
trend was by no means universal, with 304 coiled plate prices
moving up in February to around $1.27 per pound from $1.25 per
pound last month.
Market sources contacted by
AMM said activity has recently started to pick up
after a quiet start to 2013.
"It seems like the industry got
off to a slow start in January, but now it has some legs.
Theres a lot more quoting going on than two to three
weeks ago," a second southern distributor said. "I think a lot
of the buyers saw the surcharges going up, so they decided to
"February has rebounded a little
bit, but not to pre-November levels," a third market source
The demand uptick hasnt
been across all segments, however.
"We have some customers that have been muddling along in the
same mode for the last six months," the first distributor