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Merchant bar mills stick to price hike

Keywords: Tags  merchant bar, steel angles, steel imports, Mexican mills, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Merchant bar mills are sticking to an early February price increase, sources told AMM this past week.

The move comes despite a fall in scrap prices in February (, Feb. 10) and potential further softness in March, underlining mills’ previously announced shift away from a scrap surcharge.

"The (mills) are trying to escape the scrap dynamics, and that’s what’s starting to happen," one West Coast service center source said.

But a source in the Midwest was skeptical about how long the mills would stick to their guns on pricing in light of February’s fall and potential further softening of scrap prices in March (, Feb. 26).

"I’ve seen it holding, but I guess I’m a little surprised that we haven’t seen a decrease. I mean, when it (scrap) goes up they expect an increase," he said.

The depressed scrap tags have certainly put a cap on bar prices, most sources said.

"We’ve reached a peak," a second West Coast service center source said.

Sources also reported that most mills were sticking firmly to their list price on spot purchases, although discounts are still available for large-volume, long-term buyers.

"You’re paying list unless you’ve got some sort of ongoing deal with them," the first West Coast source said.

Meanwhile, import pricing for 2- x 2- x ¼-inch angles strengthened to between $680 and $710 per ton ($34 to $35.50 per hundredweight) from $670 to $700 per ton ($33.50 to $35 per cwt) as price increases by Mexican mills in response to domestic hikes start to filter through the market, sources said.

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