Steel Products Prices North America

SSAB Takes Plate Prices Up $40, 2nd Increase This Month

Written by John Packard

On Friday morning, SSAB announced another steel plate price increase. In a letter emailed to customers, SSAB advised their intention to raise “transaction prices by a minimum of $40 per ton effective immediately for all new non-contract orders.” The increase, which is the second $40 increase announced by SSAB so far this month, applies to all As-Rolled Mill Plate, Cut-to-Length Plate greater than 72 inches, hot rolled coils greater than 72 inches, as well as Normalized Plate and Quenched & Tempered Plate. SSAB also advised that all extras would be added as published.

steel plateAll plate mills are anticipated to follow the SSAB lead and announce increases of their own by early next week.

Steel buyers advised Steel Market Update after the SSAB increase was announced that the Nov. 8 increase was not collected by the mills. One buyer told SMU of a 500-ton plate order being taken recently at “thirty-one and change,” which was upsetting some of the other plate mills.

Even though the mills were unable to collect on the Nov. 8 increase, plate buyers were telling SMU they expect the mills will be able to “collect something” this time around. “The first increase was a stop sign,” one plate buyer told SMU. However, most buyers were dismissing the idea of the mills being able to collect the full $40 of the most recent increase due to the time of the year as service centers try to manage their inventories and accounts receivables.

One large reseller of plate told us, “Too soon to tell, but this should signal a bottom.” This buyer went on to say they were seeing offers at $34.00/cwt as of Friday ($680 per ton).

Another service center, when asked if the plate increase will stick, told us, “Not sure at the moment. We’re on the phones this morning seeing if we can max out our contract buying (based on CRU plate). So far, they’re saying no. Should know by Monday/Tuesday.” This president of the service center also told us, “From a sale side, plate has been strong, customers are buying at the prices we want. We’re up $40/ton over the last 30 days.”

The new quote number out of the plate mills is expected to be $700 per ton ($35.00/cwt) as of Monday. Most buyers believe actual transactions will be closer to $660-$680 per ton ($33.00/cwt-$34.00/cwt). Numbers had gotten as low as sub-$30 for the largest buyers, and smaller buyers were able to get material around $31.00/cwt ($620 per ton), which is beginning to arrive in their warehouses now.

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