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Two mills stir doubt with $30/T HSS hike

Keywords: Tags  HSS, price hike, flat-rolled steel, Atlas Tube, Hanna Steel, Southland Tube, Thorsten Schier

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 ton.

"If there’s already a break in the dike at this point, that portends what’s 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) won’t stick; they may get some of it, but not $50. I doubt coil people are collecting their full $50(-per-ton increase)," he said.

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 (, June 4).

However, Hanna Steel Corp., Hoover, Ala., and Southland Tube Inc., Birmingham, Ala., raised prices by just $30 per ton June 5.

"They’re probably thinking that’s all flat-rolled went up," one mill source said.

Other market participants agreed that a $30-per-ton move seemed more realistic given market conditions.

Southland’s 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 (, March 8).

Since then, that increase has largely disappeared from the market (, 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 (, May 23).

AMM’s hot-rolled sheet prices increased $20 per ton ($1 per cwt) the week following the hikes (, May 30).

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