LOS ANGELES Almost all structural steel tubing producers in the West have joined the recent $30-per-ton hike, and a growing number of market participants see a chance that at least part of the increase will stick in the weeks ahead.
Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Maruichi American Corp. told customers that it would raise structural, mechanical ornamental and A-53 pipe by $30 per ton effective with orders March 11, with orders previously on the books shipping at the earlier price until April 8. And Hannibal Industries Inc., also based in Santa Fe Springs, said this week it will boost prices by $30 per ton on structural tube and pipe and ornamental and mechanical tubing effective with orders March 15.
Meanwhile, market sources said two additional producers have joined the move, with Los Angeles-based Vest Inc. and Lindon, Utah-based American Tubular Products also notifying customers they were raising prices by $30 per ton.
The increase could bring delivered prices for truckload quantities of core sizes of about 20 tons of A500 Grade B hollow structural sections in the Los Angeles market to $990 to $1,010 per ton ($49.50 to $50.50 per hundredweight), although if recent pricing policies are any indication larger service centers would pay about $1 per cwt less.
The mills join a move to increase prices initiated late last week by Searing Industries, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the first time theres been a unanimous attempt to boost tags in the West since November 2012 (amm.com, Dec. 12). While producers in the West did not join when mills east of the Rockies attempted to boost tags earlier this year, theres somewhat more optimism this time.
"It looks like its holding," a mill executive said. "Were getting orders at the new price."
"Weve raised our tubing prices by $1.50 (cwt)," a distributor source said.
However, theres also no difficulty finding skeptics. "Were trying to make it work, but I just dont see the activity," said a service center executive, citing what he described as continuing low demand. Another market source, describing the increase announcements as a "valiant effort," said that any increase larger than $20 per ton is unlikely. Large buyers may not even pay that much, he added.