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Merchant bar tags flat; mills hold on pricing

Keywords: Tags  merchant bar, angles, channels, flats, steel, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — The merchant bar market has been stable in the past week as mills generally stuck to published prices, although discounts were sometimes available based on requested sizes, quantities, mill stock levels and expectations about scrap prices, according to most market participants.

"I don’t care what you’re buying in the steel market now; the mills are trying to stay as much as possible to the published prices," a Mid-Atlantic distributor source said. "But there are deals to be had. It’s on a mill-by-mill basis and it’s on a size-by-size basis. If they’ve got stock on the floor and they see scrap going down, they might want to get rid of (it)."

However, mills are "doing whatever they can to stay away from those special deals," he said. "No one wants to deteriorate market pricing, but it is what it is."

Prices remained unchanged this past week at $753 per ton ($37.65 per cwt) for 2 x 2 x ¼-inch angles, $762 per ton ($38.10 per cwt) for 3 x 3 x ¼-inch angles, $747 per ton ($37.35 per cwt) for 8- x 11.5-inch channels and $757 per ton ($37.85 per cwt) for ½- x 4-inch flats as most large mills held their published prices steady for the month.

Demand levels were said to be largely unchanged since AMM’s last survey, although there was some mention of a summer slowdown.

"There are people that think it’s slowing down," one mill source said. "I don’t necessarily agree with that."

Market participants were divided on whether a recent move away from monthly raw material surcharges by some mills would prove beneficial (, June 7).

"Hopefully the mills will step away from the raw material surcharge because of the volatility," an East Coast distributor said. "You don’t know whether to bring material in or whether you might get hurt when you bring material in."

"(The movement in scrap prices) flows through (to the price of steel) no matter what they call it," the mill source said. "The scrap surcharge mechanism has worked very well. It’s been a reasonable approach." A move away from surcharges could make the market less transparent for customers, he added.


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