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Beam prices hold steady for 4th month

Keywords: Tags  steel beams, standard beams, wide-flange beams, Nucor-Yamato Steel, Nucor Berkeley, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Published prices for steel beams look set to hold steady for the fourth month in a row, despite what market sources say are continuing marketplace pressures.

Nucor-Yamato Steel Co., Blytheville, Ark., notified customers that it will cut its raw materials surcharge by $9 per ton and raise its published base price for wide-flange and standard products by the same amount, resulting in no change in transaction price, effective March 1. The decision will leave its published f.o.b. mill price on most core sizes of wide-flange beams at $780 per ton ($39 per hundredweight).

Nucor Corp.’s Berkeley, S.C., beam mill also notified customers of similar adjustments.
Earlier this month, AMM reduced its consumer buying price for shredded automotive scrap in the Chicago market, often used as a component of mills’ surcharges, by $9 per ton to $377 per ton (, Feb. 7).

While a number of buyers agree that much, if not most, beam tonnage is moving out of the mills at list prices, market sources continue to report instances of price-cutting for larger tonnages that, on a delivered basis, reflect a discount of up to $1.50 per ton off the published f.o.b. mill price.

Some market participants say that pressure on pricing isn’t being initiated by the mills but rather by distributors, who are "panicking" as demand remains slow in most regions.

"I think the pressure is on the resale market due to a lack of business," a source in the Northeast said.

Meanwhile, early data on February import permit applications for wide-flange and standard beams—4,600 tonnes through Feb. 12—indicate a likely drop from 31,100 tonnes expected to arrive in January. A falloff wouldn’t be considered unusual, since the first month of the quarter has lately tended to be the largest in terms of arrivals. However, Russia, which hasn’t been included in import data for at least the previous three months, accounted for nearly 70 percent of all the February applications submitted so far at about 3,200 tonnes.

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