Steel prices squeezing industries

Steel prices keep rising, tarifs on cheaper off-shore steel remain on, and yet the finished goods, made from cheaper off-shore steel, are shipped into North America untarifed. So how can metal stampers survive when they can’t even buy the raw materials, in some cases, for what the customer is asking for as a price for finished product?

The Times of Northwest Indiana

U.S. mills have increased spot prices for hot rolled steel to above $700 a ton for March delivery, a hike of about $50 per ton from the previous period and almost $200 a ton higher than in August. Prices for tubular steel have jumped to as much as $200 per ton from $75 a ton for March delivery. Bar and plate prices have been a bit more restrained.

Nucor recently reduced its raw material surcharge for rebar, merchant bar and structural products by $10 per hundred weight, but increased its base price by the same amount,

Rather than to increase profit margins, steelmakers contend they are raising prices to recover climbing costs for iron ore, ferroalloys, coke, scrap, energy and shipping.

At the $700-plus-per-ton level, the price of hot rolled sheet is at its highest point to date, said Tom Stundza, author of the monthly Steel Flash Report.

Despite poor demand from the housing, automotive and appliances steel-consuming sectors, steel companies appear confident that price hikes will stick.

I especially like this line, near the bottom of the article:

In a recent speech on the North American steel industry, AIIS President David Phelps said given the consolidation of the domestic steel industry, it’s likely producers will succeed in defending their profit margins while squeezing those of steel users. [emphasis mine]

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