Another merchant bar price increase before year-end isnt
impossible due to further anticipated gains in scrap prices,
"I think the mills
certainly will pass that on. Thats the trajectory and
things are generally going up," one Midwest distributor
A second Midwest
source was less certain of a near-term increase.
"Its a coin
flip, I think. If they want to follow the scrap prices yes, but
will demand support it? Possibly. We are getting into the
year-end slowdown," he said.
"I dont have any
real feedback from the mills yet whether demand is firm enough
(for another increase)," an East Coast service center source
While the end-of-year
slowdown looms, demand hasnt dropped off yet, most
"Demand actually over
the past six to eight months, its been relatively
consistent," the first Midwest distributor said, with the
second Midwest source adding that he could "hardly remember a
time when things have been so level."
$20-per-ton ($1-per-hundredweight) price increase by domestic
mills in early November remains in full effect.
"I havent seen
any softening. The increase that (the mills) announced pretty
much went through," the first Midwest distributor said.
In terms of price
levels, published mill list prices remain in effect for spot
purchases, most sources agreed, although discounts are
reportedly available for larger forward buys.
"People are trying to
stick to the list price as much as possible," the second
Midwest source said.
Mexican mills have
also attempted a price increase in response to the domestic
move, sources said, though AMMs import merchant
bar assessment for 2- x 2- x ¼-inch angles remains at
$660 to $700 per ton ($33 to $35 per cwt) due to a lack of
reported transactions this past week.
"Mexico went up too in
the same way (as the domestic mills). Officially they are
sticking to it," a West Coast distributor said.
Mexico is said to be
the most active shipper of merchant bar to the United