Even with stronger market conditions, the steel market continues to struggle with lower pricing. In some products there has been some tenuous strengthening and may well be impacted by imports markets and global over production.
Aluminum – Prices have fallen once again in November. It is reported that Alcoa is losing patience waiting for the aluminum market to emerge from its interminable slump and the New York-based company is working to reduce its exposure to the commodity that it was built on. While most of its competitors have also embraced austerity, Chinese output has soared, creating a demand-supply imbalance that depresses the price of aluminum.
Cold Rolled – Prices have continued to improve and are likely headed higher as mills appear to be maintaining tight discipline. While mills are largely comfortable with current margins, an uptick in scrap prices could force electric arc furnace producers and major integrated mills to raise prices early in the first quarter.
Hot Rolled – Although the chart shows a decline in prices since October, the US mills are said to be pushing for higher pricing, and have been taking lower-priced deals off the table. With the announced sale of ThyssenKrupp AG’s large Calvert AL, facility at the end of November to ArcelorMittal – combined with an uptick in raw material costs, steady demand, razor thin inventory levels and extended lead times – market speculation rose this past week that more increases are in the works.
Stainless – After a long term declining price trend the stainless market price seems to have stabilized and could show signs of improving even further. It is reported that, AK Steel Holding Corp. (AK Steel) has announced that it will increase base prices for the following specialty stainless steel products: All martensitic products, precipitation hardening (PH) products, tensile rolled products, duplex products and bright annealed products.
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