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Wire rod market holds as negotiations start

Keywords: Tags  wire rod, rod prices, steel wire rod, wire rod mills, American Wire Producers Association, AWPA, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Wire rod mills and buyers are preparing to start negotiating prices ahead of the American Wire Producers Association’s Government Affairs Conference in Washington Sept. 18-20, and market participants anticipate a downtick in tags for October shipment.

"Wire rod numbers are holding their own and nobody’s putting my feet to the fire, but there is a rumor that there’s some relief coming," one Midwest wire rod buyer said.

AMM’s Chicago shredded automotive scrap price fell about $10 per ton this month (, Sept. 6), and rod buyers whose tags are indexed to scrap will see a drop. Rod buyers who negotiate each month said demand is mediocre, and with scrap falling the mills will have a tough time holding tags steady.

"We haven’t had vendor discussions, but I have a hard time making the case for going sideways, given the weakness in order books," one wire rod buyer in the South said.

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

Construction has been weak due to heavy rainfall in many parts of the country, driving down demand for construction-related wire products.

"The implication has been rain, rain, rain so our business is off, but business hasn’t picked up. ... It’s not like it’s dried out and all of a sudden construction’s booming," a second rod buyer in the South said.

"Things have been very lackluster," a mill source said. "Everybody’s open and hungry for business."

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