sheet prices were mainly flat this past week but sources
expressed uncertainty ahead as declining raw material costs and
cold weather continue to put downward pressure on the
prices have held steady at $32.50 per hundredweight ($650 per
ton), although cold-rolled slipped to $38.25 per cwt ($765 per
ton) from $38.50 per cwt ($770 per ton) previously.
Lower-priced deals were heard in the market from certain mills,
with some sources citing hot-rolled prices closer to $31.50 per
cwt ($630 per ton) for larger volumes.
"Were in a flux
right now," one Mid-Atlantic service center source told
AMM. "It almost feels like pricing is in free-fall,
and Im concerned. But I cant quite tell how
business is until we get more clarity from the weather."
One end-user said he
purchased "last-minute tons" in recent weeks to fill gaps due
to the winter weather, while a trader said he had been unable
to deliver product in a timely fashion because East Coast ports
had closed operations so frequently due to severe weather.
terrible for us. The problem is getting steel delivered because
of the bad weather," an East Coast service center source
A West Coast buyer
said pricing seemed to have become more "volatile" in recent
months due to the majority of expired index-minus deals and the
end of bucket deals. "Were probably going to see more
swings from now on," he said.
Other sources said
they were going to hold off restocking inventory, particularly
with pricing direction uncertain and market discussion over
another decrease in March.
"I know I have to buy
next week and Im not feeling good about it," a Midwest
service center source said Feb. 20.