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Merchant bar market awaits next price move

Keywords: Tags  merchant bar, ferrous scrap, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Merchant bar market participants are wondering whether mills will stick to their recent move away from following scrap prices in light of a possible pick-up in scrap tags next month (, March 21).

“When (scrap) went down they didn’t take it down, so it will be interesting to see if they stick to that scenario if it doesn’t work to their advantage,” one Midwest distributor said.

Domestic merchant bar prices have remained steady over the past two months despite a continuous fall in scrap tags, which sources attributed to mills’ desire to move away from a scrap surcharge system (, Feb. 28).

One East Coast source said that, at least in his shipment area, demand would not necessarily justify an increase. “Since December, shipments have been hit pretty badly (by the weather) and sales are consequently lower than expected. I think we need to see demand go up to justify a price movement,” he said.

The Midwest distributor, however, said mills likely would push for an increase as demand is improving with “people getting a little bit caught up from the bad weather” in his area. “They’re probably going to be pushing for increases where they can get them.”

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