NEW YORK The concrete reinforcing bar market continues to experience regional spottiness and lukewarm demand, with market participants hoping to see higher prices next month to breathe some life into the market.
"Demand is just so-so," a mill source said. "Theres not much work."
With business slow for many market players, firms are working hard to chase down orders.
"Things are very, very slow. Weve got a reasonable backlog, but were living off it. Its very difficult to add to it. The Midwest is pretty dismal," said a rebar buyer in that region of the country. "People get desperate for cash to pay their bills, so the bidding process becomes a little uglier than normal."
Grade 60 No. 5 rebar prices retreated in April and May from a February high of about $690 per ton ($34.50 per hundredweight) but appear to have slid along the bottom since settling last month at around $645 per ton ($32.25 per cwt), with prices varying based on region and order size.
Sources said they expect prices to rise next month, with news that shredded automotive scrap prices have settled up around $16 in Chicago, and $25 in Detroit. With rebar prices set to gain ground in August, sources said they expected more transactions and an uptick in business.
"Right now, Im buying. Im stocking up a little because I know this is coming. Im starting to set extra railcars because Im buying," said a rebar distributor in the Midwest.
Raising prices is "the right thing to do. If theres nothing different about supply and demand, and if input changes, than transaction prices have to change," the mill source said.