NEW YORK Price increases by U.S. rebar mills of between $10 and $20 per ton have yet to filter into the marketplace as buyers await a shakeup.
Rebar buyers largely havent yet paid the recent round of increases by domestic mills as they wait to see where prices move.
"Things are moving fast. The rebar mills have been skirting about the issue, but theyre going to have to do something. But I cant say exactly what," one mill source said. "How it shakes up, only time will tell."
Its unclear exactly where the market will fall, but sentiment points toward buyers paying at least $20 per ton more, mills and buyers said.
A second mill source agreed, noting that "$30 (per ton) is a significant scrap increase that cant just be glanced over. (The higher increases) are more on the right track. ... For right now, itll settle in between ($10 and $20 per ton) and within the next 30 days we might see another $10 or $20 increase."
For now, most rebar buyers are still paying around $650 per ton ($32.50 per hundredweight) f.o.b. the mill, but many buyers said they expect prices to rise.
Demand has been fairly strong going into year-end, with buyers rushing to bring in their orders before poor weather hits.
"This is going out due to an increase in demand, low inventory and low margin on most of (the mills) steel products, especially rebar. Theyre basically saying its demand and inventory levels," one rebar buyer said. "That price hike will stick for me."
Meanwhile, import prices have risen as well, with Mexican imports up about $20 to $30 per ton, rebar buyers said.
The market is holding its collective breath for a consensus among the mills on pricing, but sentiment was bullish.
"(The mills) were worried about getting too far ahead. They should have just waited. They shouldnt have jumped the gun," a second rebar buyer said, noting that the rebar price increases came beforeand were less thanprice increases on scrap. "I think they should have gone up $30 (per ton)."
Gerdau Long Steel North America, Tampa, Fla., led the market Nov. 1 by announcing a $20-per-ton ($1-per-cwt) increase (amm.com, Nov. 4), several days before AMMs scrap prices settled.
Charlotte., N.C.-based Nucor Corp. surprised many rebar buyers Nov. 5 with only a $10-per-ton (50-cent-per-cwt) increase (amm.com, Nov. 6). Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc. also increased prices $10 per ton (amm.com, Nov. 6), while Irving, Texas-based Commercial Metals Co.s CMC Steel Arizona division announced a $20-per-ton move (amm.com, Nov. 6).
Meanwhile, AMMs Chicago shredded automotive scrap price assessment rose $31 per ton (amm.com, Nov. 7), leading buyers to believe there might be another round of increases ahead.