NEW YORK The
steel sheet market remained steady this week amid increased
discussions over a possible price increase and concerns over
the ability to pass along higher numbers to end-users, sources
Rumors of a price hike
last week caused nervousness among buyers, who said that
increases continue to be supply-driven.
"We still have an
overcapacity scenario situation in this country," a southern
service center source said. "It seems like power is on the
mills side right now."
This week, however,
sources said it would make more sense for a price increase to
occur after scrap prices settle, with many citing the
likelihood for upward movement on the raw materials end, while
service centers said that passing along increases would
continue to be the most difficult part of the equation.
"Things are soft," a
Midwest service center source said. "Were seeing a
slowdown in activity and are struggling to keep coil pricing
up. Theres just too much capacity out there."
remained steady at $33 per hundredweight ($660 per ton) and
cold-rolled prices were flat at $38.50 per cwt ($770 per
Others agreed, saying
that while mills have undergone consolidation, there are still
too many service centers.
collected a fraction of all of this increase. I could increase
my price today to reflect all the announcements, but then I
wouldnt sell a pound of steel," the southern service
center source said.
Steelmakers have had
stronger momentum to keep prices up in the latter half of the
year, with a number of supply-side changes underscored by
longer lead times of four to six weeks for hot-rolled and
coated material out to the end of the year.
sentiment that mills will cut end-of-year deals has
"Demand has been good
and inventory levels are still down," one mill source said.
"There isnt much variation from published numbers and
order books look good."
"Were doing OK
right nowjust fine," a second Midwest service center
source said. "I would say that in the next month or two, things
look good for everyone."
But rumblings among
select service centers about receiving earlier shipments have
made some wonder whether mills are really as full as they are
said to be.
"I believe that mill
pricing is truly contrived because were starting to see
deliveries being early," an East Coast service center source
said. "Were being quoted late December on coated products
but seeing product we were expecting later come in now. I hope
Im wrong about this."