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Nucor makes long-awaited beam price hike

Keywords: Tags  steel, Nucor-Yamato Steel Co., wide-flange beam, price increase, Steel Dynamics Inc., Gerdau Long Steel North America, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — A long-awaited pricing move by Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. has set the stage for what many buyers hope could be the first general improvement in beam transaction prices since midyear.

Nucor-Yamato, Blytheville, Ark., and Nucor Corp.’s Berkeley, N.C., beam mill have both raised prices on most beam products by $35 per ton ($1.75 per hundredweight).

Orders confirmed by the close of business Dec. 18 "will be price protected if shipped before Jan. 13," both producers said in notices to customers.

Nucor-Yamato’s move puts its published f.o.b. mill price on core wide-flange beam sizes at $800 per ton ($40 per cwt), up from $765 per ton previously. This leapfrogs Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North America’s $1-per-cwt increase in early November to $39.25, which was quickly followed by the Structural and Rail division of Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Columbia City, Ind. But SDI on Dec. 6 brought its posted price on core items down again to $38.25, although it said it would implement a $1-per-cwt charge on items shipped from stock.

However, actual transaction prices to medium and large service centers, reflecting both rivalry for market share among domestic producers and import competition in certain regions, persisted in a range of $35 to $36 when freight charges are eliminated.

Recently, according to market sources, SDI and Gerdau have been "pushing back" on efforts by buyers to continue discounts off published prices, although whether the mills’ efforts are successful may not be clear until after the New Year.

"We’ll be on the sidelines until mid-January," said a Midwest buyer.

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