North American Steel prices, lead times rising

US buyers have accepted further transaction price increases. The driving force is a lack of supply. All domestic mills are operating an allocation policy for customers, with no extra tonnage to be had. Several are working below normal rates due to a variety of production/labour issues. Availability is even tighter because very few imports are being offered.
Canadian market conditions are very strong. Transaction values have moved up and the trend is likely to continue. Supply is constrained, with Stelco telling some buyers they will have no material until August. This is partly due to trying to build up stocks to protect major contract customers ahead of an anticipated strike on July 31. Inventories are low at most service centres and distributors’ profit margins have improved. Importers have stepped up their offers for August/September arrivals by $C100 per tonne.

Remember, MEPS is a supply side reporter, so when they say market conditions are strong, that means good for the steel supplier.

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