NEW YORK Domestic wire
rod buyers will try to get a handle on an uncertain market at
the American Wire Producers Associations upcoming annual
A drop in scrap prices earlier
this month has left some buyers wondering whether mills will be
forced to drop their prices, but an expected pickup in demand
for the spring has left the outlook hazy.
"Right now, I think that crystal
ball is not very long out there," a trader said. "Usually
its three months, six months; now its pretty
The conferenceFeb. 18-20
in Orlando, Fla.is likely to shed some light on market
movements, sources said, as well as help shape the market, with
attendees discussing deals over the next few months.
"You get everyone coming
together" at the conference, said an East Coast fabricator.
"Theres lots of negotiation and lots of discussion. If
you really get active, you can come away with an awfully good
sense of where the market is."
Midwest Ferrous Scrap Index for No. 1 busheling settled
Feb. 11 at $375.24 per gross ton, down 3.5 percent from $388.97
last month, while AMMs
Midwest Ferrous Scrap Index for shredded scrap settled at
$374.93 per ton, down from $386.49 in January (
amm.com, Feb. 11).
Mills could resist lowering
prices on some wire rod grades due to early indications that
demand from the construction sector may pick up, sources
"We are getting forecasts from
customers that say spring is near," a wire fabricator said.
A southern wire fabricator also
said he is seeing demand beginning to pick up in the commercial
construction sector. "We dont see the specific projects,
but just judging by the customers, (theyre) medium-sized
projects," he said. "I wouldnt say weve seen a huge
move, but for this time of year, were a little better
than wed normally be."
Without a good handle on the
market, rod buyers have kept their inventories lean, seeing no
need to stock up with lead times at the mills as short as two
or three weeks.
"As long as lead times are short
and buyers believe they can pick up the phone and get anything
they want in 15 to 20 days, they dont feel compelled to
get inventory," said the East Coast rod distributor.
Expected growth in automotive
demand could also continue to sustain some rod grades.