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Stainless base price hikes in doubt

Keywords: Tags  stainless steel, price increase, ATI, AK Steel, North American Stainless, Richard Harshman, NAS, Allegheny Ludlum Outokumpu Stainless

NEW YORK — ATI Allegheny Ludlum Corp. says previously announced base price increases on several stainless steel grades are not gaining traction, with other stainless producers reportedly rescinding their own price increases.

Richard Harshman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based parent Allegheny Technologies Inc., said during an April 24 conference call with analysts that the "recently announced base price increase that would have been effective May 6 has not been accepted in the market."

The Brackenridge, Pa.-based company announced price increases April 9, claiming they were necessary "to support continued growth and investment" (, April 9).

West Chester, Ohio-based steelmaker AK Steel Corp. declined to comment on pricing when contacted by AMM on April 24, although chairman, president and chief executive officer James L. Wainscott reiterated his company’s planned price increase during an April 23 conference call with analysts.

"Stainless steel sales activity has remained steady with a slight uptick recently, and to reflect increasing demand and recover our costs we recently announced a stainless steel price increase on new orders," he said.

The company said April 12 that it would increase base prices for all 200-, 300- and 400-series flat-rolled stainless steel products effective with May 6 shipments (, April 12).

North American Stainless Inc. (NAS) confirmed to AMM that the company "did not elect to raise base prices" recently, while Calvert, Ala.-based Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC declined to comment.

Market sources told AMM that NAS’ dominance of the domestic market has made it difficult for rival producers to implement price increases if Ghent, Ky.-based NAS doesn’t do the same.

"Three of the mills increased prices, but NAS didn’t so they all backed down," one distributor in the South said.

"NAS (products) are 50 percent of the market, so it’s difficult without their support," a Northeast distributor said.

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