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Steel wire rod prices under pressure

Keywords: Tags  Wire rod, wire rod mill, wire rod prices, scrap prices, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Wire rod prices for October shipments have consolidated at the lower levels seen late last month with demand lacking in most regions and end markets.

Domestic rod mills’ transaction prices for October fe$10 per ton fell late last month following a September downturn in scrap prices (, Sept. 27). Some mills attempted to hold on to their margins, but many buyers are sated with import material and have little need to buy significant tonnages from the mills in the fourth quarter.

"There’s so much steel floating around right now, there’s no issue with supply," a Midwest wire rod buyer said. "The mills are all dying for work. Everyone came down for October. We’re not buying anything. We have plenty of steel and plenty arriving."

Low-carbon wire rod prices have been noticeably even across regions, with mesh-quality wire rod transacting at around $630 per ton ($31.50 per hundredweight) and industrial-quality rod at about $640 per ton ($32 per cwt). High-carbon rod is around $680 per ton ($34 per cwt) and cold-heading-quality rod about $770 per ton ($38.50 per cwt).

Some wire rod buyers east of the Mississippi said demand had picked up some in the past several months, partially due to moderately improved construction demand brought on by drier weather.

"Snow and rain impacted construction from January to mid-August across all of our footprint," said a wire rod buyer in the East. "It’s not robust, but it has picked up."

The market is bracing for a seasonal slowdown in the fourth quarter, with lead times short and wire rod buyers and mills hungry for business.

"Markets are weak in the fourth quarter—there are lots of imports coming in and lead times are very short," said a second wire rod buyer in the East.

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