LOS ANGELES A late-2012
surge in carbon steel plate prices on the West Coast appears to
have stalled in the new year as buyers await clear signs that
excess inventories have been worked off and demand is
Most buyers describe pricing at
the mill level as flat with late 2012, when tags began to inch
upalthough not by as much as previously announced mill
increases. In any case, that upward movement appears to have
topped out, at least temporarily.
Moreover, if theres any
bias in pricing, it appears to be a downward-looking one. While
most buyers described their current mill offers as flat, some
reported a falloff of perhaps $20 per ton ($1 per
hundredweight) compared with the highest price they paid late
"I dont think were
going to get that first-quarter pop in pricing" seen in the
past few years, one service center buyer said.
Delivered domestic prices for
warehouse grades and sizes are estimated to be in a range of
$810 to $830 per ton ($40.50 to $41.50 per cwt).
With the exception of the
Portland, Ore.-based rolling mill of Evraz Inc. North America,
all of the regions domestic suppliersNucor
Corp.s Hertford, S.C., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., mills;
ArcelorMittal USA Inc., Chicago; and Lisle, Ill.-based SSAB
Americasare east of the Rockies.
Meanwhile, South Korean plate is
being quoted for late-first-quarter arrival at around $740 per
ton ($37 per cwt) ex-dock. Posco Ltd., which was selling
aggressively earlier in 2012 but was out of the market for part
of the fourth quarter, is once again offering material,
although at discounts to domestic plate that arent as
steep as they were during most of 2012, market sources
While an influx of imports last
yearin large part from Koreacontinues to be worked
down, there seems to be little consensus on just how much is
"Theres still some Korean
stuff around," a distributor source said. "Its
good-quality steel, but it hit our market last year all at
once, and then demand started to go down."