NEW YORK Activity in the
steel wire rod market has failed to meet expectations in May,
and both buyers and suppliers say theyve seen little if
any improvement in demand over the past few weeks.
"Nothing has changed," said one
rod buyer. "Business is soft."
As a result, sources said
theyve seen no change in transaction prices in recent
weeks. AMMs mesh-quality low-carbon wire rod
prices remain unchanged at around $670 per ton ($33.50 per cwt)
f.o.b. mill; industrial-quality low-carbon rod is flat at $690
per ton ($34.50 per cwt); high-carbon wire rod is stable at
$715 per ton ($35.75 per cwt); and cold-heading-quality
material is steady at $770 per ton ($38.50 per cwt), sources
"Prices are holding up," said a
mill source. "Its going up and down with scrap pricing,
and we dont see any erosion to the margin."
Wire drawers have reported
seeing different levels of activity in different end markets,
with demand from construction end-users generally weaker than
among automotive suppliers. Wire drawers said that auto sales
were strong, but sales into the construction market, as well as
furniture and bedding supplies, including innersprings, have
yet to kick in.
Meanwhile, rod lead times remain
short, with some mills said eager to offload material.
"We placed an order with one of
the mills. We needed a couple of rail cars," said a second rod
buyer. "We called (a rod mill) at 9 a.m., and theyre
literally going to ship us two rail cars tomorrow. Thats
just reflective of how short lead times are."
"Lead times are at three weeks,"
said a second mill source. "It seems like you can get rod any
time you want it."
scrap buying pricesused as the basis of some mills
raw material surchargessettled down about $20 last week
across the Midwest (
amm.com, May 3), and market participants told
AMM that without robust finished steel demand, they
expect mills to lower their rod prices for June shipments along
"(The mills have) got to be
competitive," said the second rod buyer. "People are scrambling
for business. From a pricing standpoint, when scrap goes does
down, I dont think everyone has a choice but to
Last week, a number of mills
changed their prices for other long products, including rebar
and beams, before scrap prices settled (
amm.com, May 3), but as of press time, this
months wire rod prices had not yet been announced.