LOS ANGELES The fate of the latest round of flat-rolled steel price hikes may be in doubt on the West Coast as one of the regions two major producers has indicated to some buyers that its unlikely to implement an increase.
Fontana, Calif.-based California Steel Industries Inc. (CSI) has recently indicated to certain customers not to expect a general price hike on hot-rolled, hot-rolled pickled and oiled, cold-rolled and galvanized sheet in line with most major producers east of the Rockies as well as the other major flat-rolled producer in the West. That producer, Pittsburg, Calif.-based USS-Posco Industries Inc., earlier told customers it would raise the price of hot-rolled pickled and oiled, cold-rolled and galvanized sheet by $20 per ton ($1 per hundredweight), effective Aug. 7 (amm.com, Aug. 10).
Buyers said this week that not only hasnt CSI announced an overall price hike but certain customers have been told that the company isnt inclined to boost prices, which have been raised at least twice over the past few months.
CSI couldnt be reached for comment.
One buyer, who wasnt told specifically by CSI that it wont be raising tags, said hes nevertheless had the impression in his most recent conversations with mill representatives that "theyre very concerned about the price level on imports."
South Korean hot-rolled coils, viewed as one of the major import factors on the West Coast, have recently been quoted at $30.50 to $30.75 cwt ex-dock for expected arrival in October or November, according to market sources. This compares with reported initial asking prices on domestic hot-rolled of $34 to $35 cwt, although negotiated prices can be lower.
Some service center customers who were informed by CSI that it wont be raising pricesand who agree this is the best coursealso observed that many of their counterparts are looking ahead to a period of "seasonal weakness" in the fourth quarter, when their purchasing will probably slow down.