NEW YORK Several domestic
mills efforts to raise hollow structural sections (HSS)
by $50 per ton have gotten off to a rocky start, with at least
two other U.S. mills following with price hikes of just $30 per
"If theres already a break
in the dike at this point, that portends whats going to
happen," one Mid-Atlantic service center source said, adding
that only a severe cut in flat-rolled capacity would allow
mills HSS increases to be successful.
A second Mid-Atlantic
distributor was also skeptical of the $50-per-ton hike, but
expects that at least a portion of the increase could hold.
"This ($50-per-ton hike)
wont stick; they may get some of it, but not $50. I doubt
coil people are collecting their full $50(-per-ton increase),"
Atlas Tube Inc., a subsidiary of
Chicago-based JMC Steel Group Inc., kicked off the $50-per-ton
hike in response to a flat-rolled steel price increase. At
least six mills followed the move June 4 (
amm.com, June 4).
However, Hanna Steel Corp.,
Hoover, Ala., and Southland Tube Inc., Birmingham, Ala., raised
prices by just $30 per ton June 5.
"Theyre probably thinking
thats all flat-rolled went up," one mill source said.
Other market participants agreed
that a $30-per-ton move seemed more realistic given market
Southlands increase was
"based upon a thorough evaluation of the strengthening
hot-rolled coil market," it said in its June 5 letter, but
noted that customers "will be advised accordingly" in the event
that "additional increases become necessary."
Atlas also led a $50-per-ton HSS
hike in early March. While initially followed by Southland, the
company later revised that down to $30 per ton (
amm.com, March 8).
Since then, that increase has
largely disappeared from the market (
amm.com, May 28), with HSS tags now at around $900
per ton ($45 per hundredweight).
The attempted hike come after
most large flat-rolled steelmakers recently raised prices by
$50 per ton ($2.50 per cwt) or set higher minimum base prices
amm.com, May 23).
sheet prices increased $20 per ton ($1 per cwt) the week
following the hikes (
amm.com, May 30).