Primary stainless steel prices have eased further in recent
weeks on the back of lower surcharges, with market participants
reporting shorter lead times moving into the summer.
Free-market prices for
Type 304 cold-rolled sheet are $1.21 per pound f.o.b. mill,
down from $1.27 a month ago; Type 316L cold-rolled sheet is
$1.73 per pound, down from $1.79 previously; Type 304 coiled
plate prices have dropped to $1.19 per pound from $1.24; and
Type 316 coiled plate has dropped to $1.71 per pound from
AMM that base prices have not moved and the price
drops were instead indicative of surcharge reductions announced
by stainless steel producers for June (
amm.com, May 22).
But at the same time,
most players also reported some slight demand weakness.
"Its a little
soft. I think supply is still outweighing demand so that keeps
lead times short. We dont have a lot of business out two
to three months," a source at one primary stainless distributor
said. "Were not expecting it to fall off, but with lead
times being short and prices off, people are only looking to
buy as they need it because they know they can get it
A second distributor
source agreed that business wasnt booming. "As far as
sales go, were flat. The volumes are up, but prices are
depressed," he said.
A third distributor
source confirmed that demand was continuing to come in the form
of "normal, day-to-day business" rather than large-scale
infrastructure projects. "Its not great, but its
not terrible," he said.