Flat-rolled steel buyers on the West Coast are growing cautious
amid initial indications that prices for some products may have
reached at least a temporary plateau.
indications are that local domestic prices for March hot-rolled
coils arent likely to move up from their current
estimated range of $670 to $710 per ton ($33.50 to $35.50 per
hundredweight), depending on the volume of the purchase,
according to market sources.
While South Korea, the
major import market factor in hot-rolled, had yet to issue firm
quotes for April shipments early this week, market sources said
their suppliers have suggested prices probably wont
advance more than about $10 per ton (50 cents per cwt) from an
earlier-reported range of $31.50 to $32.50 per cwt.
Some buyers noted
that, even though delivered hot-rolled from mills east of the
Rockiesestimated as high as $37.50 to $38.50 per cwt
during the past monthhasnt been competitive in this
region, production lead times from some Midwest or Southeastern
producers are now as short as Feb. 1. This had led to
speculation these mills could be looking for West Coast
business in the not-too-distant future.
called me yet, but Im thinking they may be ready to
participate again on the West Coast fairly soon," one
distribution executive said about Midwest producers, noting
that domestic mills outside the West Coast havent
generally been competitive with this regions main
hot-rolled source, California Steel Industries Inc., Fontana,
Calif., since November.