Flat-rolled steel prices continue to move up on the West Coast,
but the continuing role of imports is working to keep the
Transaction prices in
many cases have risen about $40 to $50 per ton since they
bottomed out earlier this year, buyers said in the past week.
But they also pointed out that, as far as theyre
concerned, "theres no shortage of steel," and in many
cases they still have the option of buying from either domestic
or offshore sources.
In the recently
announced increases, California Steel Industries Inc., Fontana,
Calif., said it would raise prices for hot-rolled, pickled and
oiled, and cold-rolled products by $20 per ton ($1 per
hundredweight) and galvanized material by $30 per ton ($1.50
per cwt) effective June 28 (
amm.com, June 28). USS-Posco Industries Inc.,
Pittsburg, Calif., told customers it would raise hot-rolled
pickled and oiled and cold-rolled sheet by $20 per ton and
galvanized sheet by $30 per ton, according to sources.
coil is estimated at $34 to $34.50 per cwt delivered on the
West Coast, while the latest offers from such sources as South
Korea and New Zealand were reported in a range of $30.50 to
$31.50 per cwt for arrival in September or early October.
The latest reported
offers from China suggest a cold-rolled coil base of $33.50 to
$34 per cwt, about $50 per ton higher than this years low
point a month or two ago, for material expected to arrive in
late October. But market sources said its far from clear
that this price wont come down in future negotiations.
This is at least $60 to $80 per ton under stated domestic
prices, although there are reports that substantial domestic
orders could narrow the gap considerably.
Some buyers who
purchase material from mills both on the West Coast and east of
the Rockies said its their impression that supply is
relatively tighter in the Midwest than in the West.
"Sure, you can
probably find a deal anywhere if youre looking for one,
but thats less so with the Midwest mills," a buyer
A few buyers said
theyre still living off import inventory purchased a few
months ago, when prices hit bottom. One distributor pointed out
that given the pattern of the past few years, he isnt
likely to have much of a requirement for the rest of 2013 after
imports ordered in the next few weeks arrive in October.