Domestic Steel Prices Rise

Originally published by: PlattsSeptember 23, 2011

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US steel producers have raised mill prices of rebar in 20-foot lengths by $10/st and are looking for another $20 increase for larger sizes with shipments beginning October 1. Mills last raised prices in July.

Since that last price hike, producers like Nucor and Gerdau have kept tight control of production and are operating with very low inventory levels. That has avoided a slide in prices even as construction markets remained depressed in most regions of the country.

Nucor said September 13 that all orders on the books for rebar would be price-protected, provided that they shipped before October 1. Since lead times at most mills are between two and three weeks and supplies of stock material at the mills are limited, buyers and service center sources expect the price increases to stick.

The full impact of the price actions is still unclear, but the Platts assessment for US-made No. 6 standard rebar moved up Friday to a range of $730-750/st ex-works Southeast mill for new orders from $720-740/st earlier.

Import offers remain at lower levels around $675-685/st CIF Houston, mainly due to lower international prices in overseas market. Rebar prices in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have fallen in the past two months due to a slowdown in buying activity as market sentiment has turned negative.

Platts reported Tuesday that Turkish mills lowered their FOB offers to $715-720 (around $645/st) on lower demand.

Support for higher prices in the US may be short-lived, however, if scrap prices move lower. Nucor said purchase prices of shredded auto scrap for its electric furnace mini-mills have remained flat since July.

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