NEW YORK Stainless steel
prices rose slightly alongside March surcharges, although many
buyers are holding off in anticipation of lower tags in April,
market participants said.
Prices for Type 304 cold-rolled
sheet increased to $1.36 per pound from $1.35 a month ago,
while Type 316L moved up to $1.88 from $1.87 per pound.
Type 304L cold-rolled strip also
ticked up to $1.55 per pound from $1.54 a month ago, and Type
316L moved up to $2.24 per pound from $2.21 in the same
The price increases were largely
in line with higher March surcharges from the major producers
amm.com, Feb. 21), market participants said.
However, one distributor said
that the recent plunge in nickel prices will likely deter some
buyers from making purchases in March.
"The mills are trying to hold
the line, but with a 6-cent drop probably coming in a few
weeks time, I dont think anyone is going to take
those prices," he said.
"It will likely slow the further
in the month we go," a second distributor agreed. "Since April
surcharges are dropping, people will hold off if they can."
Business has improved slightly
since the start of the year, but still hasnt reached its
pre-November levels, market sources told AMM.
"It seems to be improving a
little bit as compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, but that
was an absolutely dismal period," a third distributor said.
"The general market is soft. There are still some buyers that
are very uncertain about what the year will hold for them, and
theyre adjusting their purchases accordingly."
His overall assessment was
gloomy. "I think it will be a tough year," he added. "I
dont see anything on the horizon to suggest it will get