LOS ANGELES Prices for structural steel tubing on the
West Coast are showing the effects of continuing low demand as
competition among local producers intensifies.
While core sizes of A500 Grade B hollow structural sections
(HSS) delivered in the Los Angeles market are reported at $960
to $980 per ton ($48 to $49 per hundredweight), market sources
said an increasing amount of tubing appears to be selling in a
lower range of $940 to $960 per ton ($47 to $48 per cwt).
Prices on larger rail car shipments from mills east of the
Rockies are even lower, depending on order size, although some
buyers pointed out that the number of multiple rail car
requirements has declined from earlier levels.
There are too many of us chasing a smaller pie, one
buyer said of the West Coast regions
construction-dependent tubing market.
Prices on the latest round of imports from the markets
most important offshore source, South Korea, havent yet
While previous tags were reported at $770 to $790 per ton
($38.50 to $39.50 per cwt), buyers said traders have been
warning about possible hikes of $40 per ton ($2 per cwt) for
material arriving in May.
Some preliminary quotes on limited ranges of South Korean
tubing are reported at $830 per ton ($41.50 per cwt) for May
arrival, but observers pointed out that its not unusual
for initial offers to come in higher, then drift downward if
they fail to attract orders.
There was one exception to the generally lackluster picture:
Demand for 8-inch-square and 10-inch-square tubing appears to
have picked up. These sizes are often associated with
construction of tilt-up buildings used in
warehouses, and they could be benefiting from an upturn in this
In January, Marcel Van Dijk, business development manager for
the Port of Los Angeles, said that about 13 million square feet
of industrial warehouse and distribution space will be built in
Southern California this year, with approximately 11 million
square feet slated in the inland counties of Riverside and San
amm.com, Jan. 30
Van Dijk said the projectswhich will be built in large
part to support e-commerce and information technology
businesseswould contribute to an expected 7- to
10-percent rise in steel arrivals at the port in 2013. He noted
that construction of these facilities consumes not only steel
long products normally associated with construction, but also
flat-rolled steel, which is used for siding and roofs.