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Merchant bar mart steady; Mexican bids loom

Keywords: Tags  steel, steel long products, merchant bar products, pricing, Nucor Corp., angles, channelsw, flats scrap prices

NEW YORK — Market conditions in merchant bar were largely reported as steady this past week, although some sources are expecting a slowdown in demand.

"Every summer around this time there’s a slowdown. A lot of the large OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) slow down," one Midwest distributor said.

Domestic prices are flat, with market leader Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C., recently holding its prices unchanged for a third month in a row (, July 1).

As a result, 2 x 2 x ¼-inch angles remain at $753 per ton ($37.65 per cwt), 3 x 3 x ¼-inch angles at $762 per ton ($38.10 per cwt), 8- x 11.5-inch channels at $747 per ton ($37.35 per cwt) and ½- x 4-inch flats at $757 per ton ($37.85 per cwt).

"People like it when pricing is steady," the Midwest source said, although he added that mills might put an end to the recent run of not adjusting prices even after the scrap settlement, given this month’s jump in scrap tags (, July 3).

"They can always change the rules," he said.

While sources said discounts are available in cases where mills have excess capacity of certain items, reductions were not typical and one western distributor said he was being charged list price even for larger tonnages.

"When I talk to the mill, they say there are no discounts," he said.

Sources said some Mexican mills were offering more-competitive prices.

"They’ve got some added capacity they want to sell into the U.S. market," the Midwest source said.

The western distributor said merchant bars delivered to his location from a Mexican producer could be had for the same price as domestic material f.o.b. the mill, representing about an 8-percent discount.

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