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Sept. wire rod prices return to July levels

Keywords: Tags  steel wire rod, import competition, wire rod prices, rod buyers, steel mills, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Wire rod prices for September have settled at July levels after a brief rise in August failed to take hold in the face of import competition and flat demand, market participants said.

"Prices are at July levels. Everyone’s kind of holding. No one has to make a move, so there are no big changes. I don’t think everyone followed Keystone (Steel & Wire Corp. on its August hike) that much," a high-volume rod buyer in the Midwest said.

Peoria, Ill.-based Keystone announced in July a $15-per-ton increase in its wire rod selling prices for August shipments (, July 15), and sources said that several other mills also raised their prices for August shipments, with many customers seeing a $5- to $15-per-ton increase.

But prices for September shipment have returned to July levels across the board after showing signs of weakening in mid-August (, Aug. 16).

"The July prices are essentially what we’re paying today," a rod buyer in the Northeast said.

Wire mesh-quality rod is transacting at around $640 per ton ($32 per hundredweight) f.o.b. mill, industrial-quality wire rod is at $650 per ton ($32.50 per cwt) and high-carbon wire rod is around $700 per ton ($35 per cwt). Cold-heading-quality wire rod is trading at $770 per ton ($38.50 per cwt).

Rod buyers are facing depressed finished wire prices, which has diminished demand for mill product.

"With the competition out there, you’ve got some people that really drive the price down and so, therefore, we’d have to reduce our pricing in order to move anything," a second rod buyer in the Midwest said, adding that he was limiting purchases through year-end.

A spike in Chinese wire rod imports this year has slowed purchasing from U.S. rod mills, buyers and mill sources said, diminishing activity and undermining domestic rod prices (, Aug. 19).

"The volume is not there," a mill source said.

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