NEW YORK The fate of
recently launched price increases on hollow structural sections
(HSS) is in doubt as market sources have yet to see any
increases in purchasing prices.
"Its not looking good at
this point. Theyre still trying to hold on to
$30(-per-ton increases), but I think the jurys out on
that one," a Midwest distributor source said, adding that his
buying prices had not gone up since the hikes were
($2.50-per-hundredweight) increase on HSS was started by Atlas
Tube Inc. in early March (
amm.com, March 5) and followed by most domestic
mills before being partially rescinded to $30 per ton ($1.50
per cwt) by some mills a few days later (
amm.com, March 8).
price for HSS is $910 per ton, and sources said purchases
around that number were still possible.
"Theres still not enough
demand for a mill to say, Theres a backlog;
were going to raise prices," a Mid-Atlantic
distributor source said, adding that a pickup was unlikely in
the near term. "Its April. The stocking season is
U.S. distributor shipments of
pipe and tube products totaled 219,800 tons in February, down
6.6 percent from the same month last year, according to the
latest Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) figures. Canadian
shipments of the product declined 19.3 percent to 50,800 tons
in the same comparison.
Year-to-date shipments of
461,200 tons by U.S. distributors were 3.6 percent lower than
in the first two months of last year, while Canadian shipments
were 13.7 percent lower at 104,600 tons, according to MSCI
Further casting doubt on the HSS
hikes is skepticism about the success of recent flat-rolled
steel increases, as scrap might soften again in April after
rising in March (
amm.com, March 14).
"Although scrap went up in
Chicago, there are some signs that the export market is down
and scrap may soften again," the Midwest distributor source
The flat-rolled increases were
widely cited as the reason behind the HSS hikes.
"The structural tube market and
manufacturers jump on whatever increase is announced in the
flat-rolled market," the Midwest source said.
AMMs price for
hot-rolled sheet has been steady at $620 per ton ($31 per cwt)
since mid-February, with the latest round of flat-rolled
increases announced late in the month (
amm.com, Feb. 27).