NEW YORK Hollow
structural sections (HSS) mills are raising prices, but not in
a uniform manner, market sources told AMM.
"It looks split," a
Mid-Atlantic distributor source said. "Some are still holding,
trying to get that $50 (-per-ton increase). But theyre
all trying to get something."
However, it might take
some time to see the final results of the increase due to the
timespan of a typical buying program, he said. "You wont
know for 30 days down the road."
executive chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based
JMC Steel Group Inc., said in a recent letter that subsidiary
Atlas Tube Inc. is holding the line on its leading $50-per-ton
hike despite the "destructive" behavior of some mills that
raised prices by only $30 per ton (
amm.com, June 7).
A second Mid-Atlantic
distributor source said that he saw mills generally making more
modest increases. "The increase Im seeing is anywhere
between $10 and $30 (per ton), with more in the $10 to $20
range than $30," he said.
A market source
confirmed that some mills that initially followed Atlas have
cut back their increases to $30 per ton, but claimed that the
revised hike was in full effect. "(They) have gotten $30 (per
ton) all day," he said, adding that prices are being bolstered
by a tightening coil market.
However, a source at a
small Midwest mill said he had not seen any of the increase
hold. "Absolutely not one penny of it. All its doing is
securing the numbers that I have on the books. At least
nobodys trying to negotiate off their future orders," he
said. "I wouldnt think that anybodys going to lose
an order out there because theyre holding that (higher)
Sources were unsure
whether a second recently announced flat-rolled hike (
amm.com, June 13) would trickle through into the
"(Its) hard to
say how Atlas will react, but the reality of the matter is that
without demand there is no real justification for an HSS
increase until coil prices fix at a firm price and not a
wishful one," the second Mid-Atlantic distributor source
Atlas parent JMC
declined to comment.
Demand in the HSS
market is steady rather than booming, sources said, making any
price increases largely supply-side-driven.
"People are still
unsure of where their demand is going. Theyre replacing
holes, not building inventory," the first Mid-Atlantic source
said. However, he added that another HSS hike was possible if
there were "universal support" for the latest flat-rolled
increase, existing capacity constraints like the strike at
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp.s Lake Erie Works in
amm.com, April 29) continued or if there were some
further cut in coil capacity through other labor issues or