Flat-rolled steel mill price increases over the past 60 days
have taken hold despite uneven demand among processors and
distributors, mill buyers told AMM.
One Great Lakes steel
buyer is optimistic, while another said his sales are in a
The latest survey
conducted by the Institute for Supply Managements Steel
Buyers Forum shows a similar split.
A Mississippi Valley
sheet distributor said that even though his orders are steady,
"our strategy now is to wait and see (if the latest
$25-per-ton) increase sticks. That is a departure; normally we
bought a months worth of steel at once to fulfill a
customers quarterly needs. Now were buying one week
at a time."
A Great Lakes
distributor is "upbeat about prices sticking and holding. Yet,
there is no question the market is still supply driven, which
leads me to question the longevity of higher pricing," which
might see some erosion by October, he said.
Orders have risen in
the past few months, and prices seem to be sticking, one
Midwest warehouse sales executive said.
However, a second
Midwest source said flat-rolled "demand slumped last month, and
this month is looking kind of dismal." On the other hand,
customers forecasts for the rest of the third quarter
arent that bad, he said.
arrived ahead of officially quoted lead times, the second
Midwest source said. Supply is plentiful, "so how the mills are
justifying another increase, I dont know. Warehouses
should be very wary of this."
There was a big jump
in the number of buyers predicting orders and backlogs would
decline over the next three months (27.8 percent vs. 7.7
percent in June), but there was little change in the
expectations for economic activity over the next six months,
with one-third of buyers forecasting an uptick.