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US Sheet Pricing Appeared to Be Trending Upwards

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Core Tip: US sheet pricing appeared to be trending upwards Thursday as mills retain the upper hand in contract negotiations and buyers attempt to pack on tonnage before the newest

US sheet pricing appeared to be trending upwards Thursday as mills retain the upper hand in contract negotiations and buyers attempt to pack on tonnage before the newest round of price increases sinks in.

Though Platts has maintained its hot-rolled pricing at $660-670/st and its cold-rolled pricing at $770-780/st, announced increases from Severstal and AK Steel of $20/st and $30/st, respectively, signaled to some buyers that pricing will be moving up.

"Everybody else is going to follow," remarked one service center source, noting that minimills should be especially keen to follow given recent increases in scrap.

A second service center source characterized this quarter as an "up market" that looks likely to hold out until at least January.

Two factors, however, could chip away at pricing in the new year, he said.

The more important of the two is contract negotiations, he said. Some mills are becoming eager to place contracts ahead of January to avoid the "free-for-all" that will ensue when existing contracts expire and buyers turn to the spot market, he said.

"It's one thing to say we're not going to do business with this methodology anymore and another thing to say we have nothing to replace it with," the second service center source said.

Somewhat less of a concern is increased import levels.

"They're already attracting imports, anyway," he said. "There's no reason not to attract more."

 
Keyword: Steel Sheet, mills
 
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