West Coast producers of structural steel tubing, after holding
back while mills east of the Rockies announced two sets of
price hikes, are now attempting to implement $40-per-ton
increases of their own.
California mills were due to become effective between July 5
and July 12, depending on the mill, market sources told
AMM, noting that announced hikes usually dont
actually begin until the last mills move takes place.
Orders entered prior to the increaseranging as far
as mid-August for some millswill still be shipped at the
earlier price, sources added.
increases announced across the West Coast region follow two
rounds of tubular increases east of the Rockies. In early June,
mills in the Midwest and South initially sought hikes of $50
per ton, which some later modified to $30 per ton (
amm.com, June 5); later that month, Atlas Tube
Inc. launched a second $40-per-ton increase that was quickly
followed across the region (
amm.com, June 27).
West Coast tubers had
appeared largely reluctant to join the increasesuntil
If successful, the
West Coast increase would bring prices for core sizes of A500
grade B hollow structural sections (HSS) up to a nominal range
of $980 to $1,000 per ton ($49 to $50 per hundredweight).
As a result of the
announcements, some market sources said theyre being
quoted higher prices on orders for bundles of 4,500 to 5,000
tons or smaller, and certain mill sources said theyre
adjusting previously ordered project tonnage due to be shipped
after August. But other market participants maintained that, so
far, theyve seen little proof that a significant tonnage
is being sold at the new price.
One indication that
the market continues to contain skeptics is few reports of
buyers placing orders to get ahead of the slated price
"I didnt buy
anything to anticipate an increase," a service center buyer
said. "Im just waiting this out."
The strongest argument
for an eventual tubing hike is based on higher prices that
tubers maintain theyre paying for their coil feedstock,
which threatens to put them into a profit squeeze if tubing
prices dont increase. Still, some market sources argue
that until theres a sustained improvement in
construction, a critical component of support is missing.
"Its going to take a change in demand to back up these
increases," a second service center buyer said.