US wire rod market – De-stocking, low import arrivals not helping prices yet
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Domestic wire rod prices are still trending down, as customers are still not in "buying mode."
Sources say that de-stocking is taking place to some degree, but that supplies are still high in relation to the slow demand. Eyes are now focused on the next American Wire Producers Association (AWPA) meeting in Washington next month for things to turn around and for buyers to get active again.
Domestic prices have not changed in the last week, but despite the slight bounce back of shredded scrap prices this month, it is likely that wire rod prices will take another dip in September due to the poor market conditions.
Most low carbon offers from domestic mills continue range from $28.00 cwt. to $29.00 cwt. ($617 /mt to $639 /mt or $560 /nt to $580 /nt) FOB mill. Domestic high carbon offers range from $30.50 cwt. to $31.50 cwt. ($672 /mt to $694 /mt or $610 /nt to $630 /nt) FOB mill. The pricing trend is still down.
On the whole, import wire rod offering prices have also remained stable in the last week, though the pricing trend is still slightly down. Chinese mills haven't given any indications that they will lower prices, yet no one is buying at current offering levels. Turkish offers have actually increased slightly as Turkey's home market is starting to bounce back along with scrap prices, however, US customers are not buying at these higher levels any way, especially now that domestic prices are below import prices.
Import mesh grade wire rod offers range from $28.25 cwt. to $29.25 cwt. ($623 /mt to $645 /mt or $565 /nt to $585 /nt) FOB, loaded truck, in US Gulf ports, while import offers for drawing quality rods range from $30.00 cwt. to $31.00 cwt. ($661 /mt to $683 /mt or $600 /nt to $620 /nt) FOB, loaded truck, in US Gulf ports. There are however still some aging inventories in the Houston area selling at less than the above range.
License data from the US Import Administration show that year to date through July, wire rod imports to the US have been very low compared to last year, totaling 960,806 mt, compared to total wire rod imports of 1,676,400 mt during the same period of 2006. YTD through July 2007, China remained the largest exporter of wire rod to the US, with 458,598 mt, followed by Canada, at 197,111 mt; Brazil, at 85,971 mt; Trinidad & Tobago, at 75,258 mt; and Japan, at 56,880 mt.