NEW YORK Wire rod prices were largely unchanged following a round of increases last month, with most buyers continuing to pay about $20 more than a month ago, as margins for buyers and suppliers remain compressed.
Wire rod mills announced $30-per-ton ($1.50-per-hundredweight) increases last month, but most customers did not pay the full increase, and prices settled up about $20 per ton ($1 per cwt), buyers and mills said.
"Rod producers have not achieved that ($30-per-ton) level of increase," one wire rod buyer said. "Roughly $20 (per ton) got implemented. Some might have gotten by with less than $20, some paid $30. Most of the mills were pretty compliant as long as there were some tons attached."
Those pricing patterns continued this month, but the $20 increases were not universal, and a few buyers said they were paying up to $30 more.
"When the new price increases came in they (mills) really stuck to it no matter how we fought. I was surprised because I really thought they were bluffing," a second rod buyer said.
Several weeks ago, mill sources told AMM that larger orders might see discounts attached, but small orders were mostly bearing the brunt of increases (amm.com, Nov. 21).
Mesh-quality wire rod is transacting at around $650 per ton ($32.50 per cwt) f.o.b the mill, up from $645 per ton ($32.25 per cwt), while industrial-quality rod remained at $660 per ton ($33 per cwt), high-carbon rod was even at $700 per ton ($35 per cwt) and cold-heading-quality rod was flat at $800 per ton ($40 per cwt).
Market players are waiting for scrap prices to settle this month (amm.com, Dec. 5), and for the next round of wire rod price negotiations to begin. Higher scrap prices could lead to further increases, sources said, but mills are likely to continue to be pressed by Chinese imports.
"Until we file a case, its going to be a problem," said one mill source.