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HSS demand, prices said flatlining

Keywords: Tags  HSS, hollow structural sections, HSS prices, HSS demand, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Hollow structural sections (HSS) demand and pricing are mostly flat, with recent increases holding for spot purchases, market sources told AMM.

"Demand is not deteriorating nor improving; it’s just flatlining. It’s like a very calm lake. There are no ripples in it," one Mid-Atlantic distributor said.

"The demand is there. (It)’s not strong, but it’s steady. It’s just fine. Prices are holding for the interim," one mill source said.

Spot buys are being made around AMM’s benchmark of $920 per ton ($46 per hundredweight), sources said, with most mills sticking to a recent price increase of $30 per ton ($1.50 per cwt), although discounts reportedly are available for larger orders.

"We’re being told by suppliers that they’re holding steady with their prices, though with coil moving slightly downwards I suspect that if anyone had a large quantity they could get a discount," the Mid-Atlantic distributor said.

While discounts might be available, few sources reported making large purchases as they are uncertain what the future holds. "Nobody’s brave enough to jump out there and make the big buy," a second mill source said.

While sources said forecasting was particularly difficult in a year that hasn’t seen typical seasonal patterns, expectations are for somewhat softer business conditions in the near term due to falling coil prices and typically slower demand over the summer.

"The lead times (in flat-rolled steel) seem to still be real short. That’s kind of the telltale sign of what’s going to happen," the second mill source said, adding that he wasn’t "expecting any increases anytime soon" in HSS as a result.

"I’m hearing not-so-great news about the summer, so maybe we’ll see some price (erosion) just a little bit," the first mill source said.

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