Stainless steel prices slide with surcharges

NEW YORK — Primary stainless steel prices have dropped in line with surcharge decreases for May, with producers reportedly unable to establish base price hikes.

Prices for Type 304 coiled plate now average $1.24 per pound f.o.b. mill, down from $1.27 a month ago; Type 316 coiled plate is around $1.77 per pound, down from $1.80; Type 304 cold-rolled sheet has slipped to around $1.27 per pound from $1.30; and Type 316L is around $1.79 per pound, down from $1.82.

Market participants told AMM that prices dropped in roughly the same measure as surcharge decreases announced by producers last month (, April 22).

"The surcharges came down a little, and that’s basically what we’re seeing in the prices," said a source at a Midwest distributor.

Several distributor sources reiterated reports that previously announced base price increases had not been successfully implemented by the major producers (, April 24).

Meanwhile, consumer demand continues to underwhelm many players in the market, with several distributors describing demand as "sluggish" or "flat."

"The year looked like it was going to start off a little better than last year, but January through April, it’s leveled out," a West Coast distributor source said. "Some customers are optimistic, but it’s hard to tell if there’s actually activity out there or they’re just optimistic. I think they’re still waiting on the purchase orders."

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