Flat-rolled steel prices on the West Coast appear poised to
rise, but the size of any increase could still hinge on the
success of imports achieving pricing gains.
January prices are
generally flat vs. the fourth quarter for West Coast-produced
material despite increases implemented east of the Rockies.
This has increasingly turned some buyers in the region, who
were purchasing a portion of their requirements from the
Midwest, toward imports.
"There are no deals
back East today," a California buyer said of delivered prices
for flat rolled made east of the Rockies.
Inc., Pittsburg, Calif., and California Steel Industries Inc.,
Fontana, Calif., both raised galvanized sheet prices by $60 per
ton ($3 per hundredweight), and hot-rolled pickled and oiled,
and cold-rolled sheet by $40 per ton ($2 per cwt) last month
amm.com, Nov. 4).
But most sources said
large buyers in particular were able to avoid paying sharply
higher hot-rolled prices on the West Coast, resulting in a
growing gap between locally produced steel and coils shipped
from other parts of the country.
It now costs about
$37.50 to $38.50 per cwt to bring in hot-rolled coil from the
Midwest, including freight.
"And nobody is
equalizing freight anymore," one distributor said of mills
outside the West Coast, who a few months ago would swallow part
of the shipping cost in order to sell coil into the region.
hot-rolled coil is estimated at $32.50 to $34 per cwt for
January, depending on the size of the buyer and when it was
ordered. An increase of at least $30 per ton has been indicated
for February, buyers said.
"And so far their
sticking to their guns," one buyer said of CSIs push to
increase hot-rolled sheet prices.
reports have South Korean mills pushing for increases of $10 to
$20 per ton, to about $31.50 to $32 per cwt ex-dock for March
arrival. Traders are also trying to get $10 to $20 per ton more
for Chinese cold-rolled sheet, which last month sold at $33.50
per cwt ex-dock, sources said. This compares with U.S. base
prices of $38 to $39 per cwt in the Los Angeles market,
although "foreign fighter" deals were reported as low as $35
Sources said some
domestic mill executives are determined to reduce these
discounts going forward.