Traders at the Port of Tampa Steel Conference told me hot rolled offers at in the $460 to $480 per ton range with little to no activity. It is not clear yet if the import offers will move lower from the $460 to $480 level. One trader told me that they were not taking any new orders and he was spending most of his time trying to keep the orders already on the books from being cancelled.
A Chicago area service center told SMU that Chinese cold rolled was being offered at $28.50/cwt delivered in the Chicago area for new orders.
The president of a manufacturing company who attended the conference told me that the domestic steel mills have recently “gotten competitive” against the foreign import numbers. He complained that they had been telling the mills for almost two years that they needed to move their numbers to no avail. He told me taking foreign mill lead times into account he was booked out 4-5 months with the foreign on order. He would like to give the mills some orders but it would put his company into an over-inventoried position. It will take time to break the import chain and revert to domestic mills. He did tell me that he would prefer to buy domestic due to its consistency and better quality.
For our Premium level clients, the Imports by Product, Port and Country data has been updated and includes the latest data for the month of December.
I will be back in my office on Friday of this week and will be in the office all week next week as well. If you have any questions or suggestions for me I can be reached by email at: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com or by phone at: 800-432-3475.
As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, Publisher
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