LOS ANGELES Flat-rolled steel prices on the West
Coast remain steady, but domestic mills and importers are
knocking heads for larger buyers business.
The latest offers generally indicate prices, for the most
part, remain in ranges established over the past month, with
few instances of price erosion greater than $10 per ton for
the majority of buyers.
Thats the good news during a time of year that several
buyers had expected pronounced pricing weakness. But in those
spots where import and domestic flat-rolled steel battle
directly for relatively bigger tonnages, prices are all
over the place; its hard to know just where they
are, one market source said.
Domestic hot-rolled sheet prices on the West Coast are
generally at $640 to $670 ($32 to $33.50 per hundredweight),
depending on the size of the buyer and its relationship with
the mill, down from $32.50 to $34 per cwt ($650 to $680 per
ton) late last month (amm.com, Aug. 29). But in
areas where South Korean hot-rolled sheet is reported at
about $31 to $31.50 per cwt ($620 to $630 per ton), large
buyers have seen prices drift as low as $29 per cwt ($580 per
ton) for arrival late this year.
(South) Korean mills appear eager for business
now, one buyer said.
While commercial quality domestic cold-rolled coil is
nominally reported at about $37 to $38 per cwt ($740 to $760
per ton), some domestic material has nevertheless been sold
at less than $34 per cwt on what is described as a
foreign-fighter basis to compete with Chinese cold-rolled
sheet, sources said. The latest quotes from China on
cold-rolled steel are reported in a range of $34 to $34.50
per cwt ($680 to $690 per ton) for delivery later this year
or early in 2014, although these sources claim initial quotes
in recent months have often tended to settle as much as $1.50
per cwt ($30 per ton) below starting offers for significant
Fontana, Calif.-based California Steel Industries Inc. (CSI),
one of the regions two major flat-rolled producers, has
asked customers to submit their requirements through year-end
by Sept. 23 for hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvanized sheet
(amm.com, Sept. 18).
Despite this, some buyers said they are confident
theyll be able to plug additional tons into their
overall requirements, or find them elsewhere if the need
There has been no indication that the other major producer in
the region, USS-Posco Industries Inc., Pittsburg, Calif., has
implemented a similar policy.
In any case, few buyers have voiced fears of having trouble
finding steel in the coming months, either from domestic
mills outside the region or overseas.
There are no mills turning down orders today, one
manufacturer told AMM.