US steel sheet market continues to see offer prices creeping up

Pittsburgh (Platts)--23 Apr 2014 626 pm EDT/2226 GMT

The US steel sheet market continued to report offers from producers above published minimum base prices, as mills look to keep upward pressure on pricing amid supply tightness.

Buy-side sources reported higher offers from multiple mills for both hot-rolled and cold-rolled coil, with one Midwest buyer having been offered 450 st of HRC for June delivery at $710/st from an integrated producer. The buyer, however, noted that another major integrated producer in the region had yet to start offering above the published minimum base price of $685/st. The buyer also said that in the last three weeks the book price has been almost same, regardless of volume.

One top-tier producer sold 200 st of HRC at $690/st on Tuesday, which the producer said was its highest recorded transaction price for the day. The producer also reported a much higher volume HRC sale at $685/st.

Platts did not include the 200-st sale at $690/st in its assessment as it was seen as a one-off sale.

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The producer added that recent CRC selling prices have been $805-815/st.

Another buyer also said he saw some offers above published prices and added that "shockingly enough" he "thinks it is a good move" by the producers. He questioned the need for any official announcement from mills as it may be more beneficial to chip away and get small amounts of the higher prices.

A service center source also reported seeing CRC offers from one reroller above its latest published price announcement. He echoed the sentiment of the other buyer.

"If played correctly, this could be [the mills'] best strategy in some time, and [mills] could end up getting more than they would with their 'old school' published increase methods."

Platts maintained its HRC and CRC price assessments at $675-685/st and $800-815/st, respectively. All prices are normalized to a Midwest (Indiana) ex-works basis.

--Michael Fitzgerald,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,

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