US domestic plate market slow to absorb announced increases

Friday, 02 December 2011 02:08:18 (GMT+2)   -  


Following last week's $1.50 cwt. ($33/mt or $30/nt) price increase announcements from SSAB Americas and Nucor for January orders, US domestic plate spot prices have mostly stabilized in the range of $45.50-$46.50 cwt. ($1,003-$1,025/mt or $910-$930/nt) ex-Midwest mill, remaining neutral in the last two weeks after months of softening. The increases have also spurred a bump in order activity, pushing customers that had been sitting and waiting for prices to hit bottom back into the market. While the price increase has ended the decline, essentially putting a floor under spot prices for the most part, there are still quiet deals being made. Although those deals have become fewer and farther between in the last couple weeks, their very existence indicates that domestic plate prices are not entirely firm yet.

The most significant source of pressure for US domestic plate mills is still coming from the import market, particularly from Russia, which is offering plate to the US in the range of $40.00-$41.00 cwt. ($882-$904/mt or $800-$820/nt) DDP loaded truck in US Gulf ports. And as long as the disparity between US domestic and import plate prices in the US remains high, it will hinder US mills' ability to push their spot prices up too much, unless, of course, demand picks up as well.

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