LOS ANGELES Price hikes
on commodity steel plate are taking hold on the West Coast,
although service center buyers in particular said they have yet
to see a corresponding uptick in business.
"The (domestic) mills are
sticking to their numbers, but theres no real increase in
demand yet," said a plate distributor, noting thatwith
the possible exception of consumers in the energy
sectordaily transactional business has yet to show an
"Pricing seems to have held,
although I dont see it reflected in demand," another
market source said.
On a national basis, domestic
steel producers announced price hikes totaling $60 per ton
during the first quarter, with a number of sources confirming
earlier this month that the increases appear to have largely
held, although not in full for all buyers (
amm.com, April 5).
Delivered domestic prices into
the West Coast market of warehouse grades and sizes are now
reported in a range of $810 to $850 per ton ($40.50 to $42.50
per cwt), depending on the mill, size of the buyer and specific
local market, up from as low as $780 per ton ($39 per cwt) in
late 2012 and earlier this year.
The Portland, Ore., plate works
of Evraz Inc. North America is the West Coasts only major
regional producer of discrete plate. Other leading suppliers
here include Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., Lisle,
Ill.-based SSAB Americas, and Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA,
which have to ship from their home markets.
Unlike sheet products, where
lead times in many cases are being measured in days and prices
are proving difficult to maintain (
amm.com, April 10), plate mills are quoting
up to six weeks for delivery, which has helped support their
announced hikes, sources said. The longer lead times are
attributed in part to maintenance outages at some mills east of
But at the same time, imports
continue to be offered at discounts to domestic plate.
Taiwanese material has been reported at $720 to $740 per ton
($36 to $37 per cwt) in a full size range for delivery this
summer. Buyers also have seen initial indications that Japan,
which before 2012 hadnt been a factor in West Coast
commodity plate for years but which briefly returned to the
market at competitive prices last year, may be ready to resume
this role for summer deliveries.
Last years major import
factor, South Korea, is keeping a relatively low profile.
Sources said its unclear whether this is due to an
unconfirmed but widespread report that a large Korean plate
maker has been warned by a U.S. producer of a possible trade