NEW YORK Steel imports will likely hold steady over the
next two months, according to the American Institute for
International Steels latest survey, with traders saying
that soft U.S. prices have caused the foreign spot market to
All survey respondents said that they expect shipments of
cold-rolled sheet, corrosion-resistant steel, structural
products and pipe and tube products to remain the same over the
next two months, based on already-placed orders. Some 96
percent also said that they expect cut-to-length shipments to
remain the same.
Market participants point out that a status-quo type of
stability has not been good, especially at a time when service
centers have largely avoided buying imports due to slumping
Business is pretty bad. I mean, I was expecting more
business this quarter, and people are concerned, very
concerned, about the market, one flat
products trader said.
In January, several mills raised sheet prices by $40 to $50 per
ton, although the trend quickly lost steam (
amm.com, Feb. 13
). Plate mills also raised prices
$30 to $60 per ton (
amm.com, Feb. 22
). Market participants noted at
the time that they had yet to see higher prices.
I dont think the price increase will stick,
the trader added. Its almost laughable.
However, some said that the second quarter seems to look
stronger in light of planned outages at several sheet and plate
mills and an expected rebound in ferrous scrap prices.
All survey respondents said that they expect cold-rolled sheet
and corrosion-resistant steel shipments to increase over the
next three to five months, based on orders already placed, and
nearly two-thirds expect hot-rolled sheet shipments to
Things always have a way of adjusting out, a second
trader said. Domestic prices will surely move upI
think in the second quarterand I think import prices will
surely move down. At some point, things will work out
The majority of respondents said that booking prices for
hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled sheet, corrosion-resistant steel,
wire rod, and pipe and tube products are increasing
moderately compared with one to two months ago.
But most respondents predicted that there will be
moderate oversupply, particularly in
corrosion-resistant sheet, cut-to-length plate, wire rod,
structural products, and pipe and tube, over the next one to