LOS ANGELES Flat-rolled
steel prices continue to fall on the West Coast amid
indications that some offshore suppliers want to re-enter the
Domestic hot-rolled coil prices
for certain large service centers and end-users have fallen
below $640 per ton ($32 per hundredweight) delivered into the
region. This appears to represent as much as another
$10-per-ton price cut, on top of the $20-per-ton decline to
$640 to $660 per ton ($32 to $33 per cwt) reported earlier this
amm.com, April 9).
There have been no general price
announcements from either of the regions two major
flat-rolled producers since California Steel Industries Inc.
(CSI), Fontana, Calif., increased hot-rolled sheet by $30 per
ton and cold-rolled and galvanized sheet by $50 per ton
effective Feb. 28. Pittsburg, Calif.-based USS-Posco Industries
Inc., CSIs Chief rival, followed with an increase of $30
per ton on hot-rolled pickled and oiled sheet and $50 per ton
on cold-rolled and galvanized sheet effective March 1.
But the hikes were only
partially successful at best, market sources said, and it
wasnt too long before they began to slide again.
There are also indications that
some foreign flat-rolled sources are heating up the
competition. Chinese cold-rolled materialwhich had
climbed to more than $700 per ton ($35 per cwt) ex-dock after
hitting a low point of about $32 per cwt in the third quarter
of last yearhas been falling once again, reaching an
estimated $670 per ton ($33.50 per cwt) for July shipment.
Moreover, some buyers see South Korean hot-rolled, which had
reportedly been offered to many service centers at $630 to $640
per ton ($31.50 to $32 per cwt) previously, arriving here at
prices as low as $600 per ton ($30 per cwt) in June for larger
Nevertheless, buyers made the
point that a minimum discount of $30 to $40 per ton isnt
enough to lure them overseas, especially with a weakening price
outlook for the West Coast moving into the summer, and with
lead times on hot-rolled product as short as three weeks, not
counting another two weeks or more if shipments come from the
"Why sit on two-month lead times
in a declining price environment?" one service center buyer