LOS ANGELES Wide-flange
steel beam published prices are facing increased pressure as
distributor resale tags appear to be coming under renewed
assault following a drop in a key scrap barometer.
AMM last week lowered
its consumer buying price for shredded automotive scrap in the
Chicago marketa major component of some mills raw
material surchargesto $390 per ton ($19.50 per
hundredweight), a $22 decline from the previous month and a
reversal of Marchs $35-per-ton gain (
amm.com, April 4).
Domestic mills recently
announced a $25-per-ton increase in their published f.o.b. mill
price for April to $805 per ton ($40.25 per cwt) on most core
amm.com, March 25).
While a number of buyers said
they expect to pay published prices if they order limited
tonnages now in order to fill inventory holes, they also
indicated they were holding back on substantial requirements
until it becomes clear if the mills will repeat the
first-quarter discounts seen for larger buys.
"Right now, we cant sell
based on published list (prices)," one service center executive
said, referring to resale prices that barely match mill
"Weve got a major
disconnect in the market again," another distributor said,
referring to previous years when resale prices didnt
reflect a traditional spread between mill and street
One eastern buyer, who sees beam
demand improving, nonetheless believes "beams could come down a
bit," and a $15-per-ton cut in the published price would "make
sense" under present conditions.