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P&T price hikes hitting US market; market hitting back - 18 April 2012

Pipe and tube pricing appears to be on the rise in the US, despite apprehension about both skelp pricing and end-use demand.

Most major domestic A500 structural tubing producers have announced immediate increases of $30/short ton, Platts Steel Business Briefing has learned from company letters. Additionally, at least two major producers have already announced increases of $40/s.t for A53 standard pipe, beginning in mid-May.

Though producers cite skelp pricing as a factor in the increases due to recent $20/s.t price increase announcements by mills, hotrolled coil transaction pricing appears flat-to-down at about $670-690/s.t, fob mill. Pre-increase, that leaves A500 material at $960-$1000/s.t fob mill.

“It doesn’t seem like a recipe for success to me,” said one A500 mill source, adding that his company supported the increase. “If coil doesn’t move up, the pipe and tube price isn’t going to move up.”

A northeastern US distributor said he’d like to believe the increase will stick, but he’s planning for the worst. “I’d rather be left behind a couple of weeks and snatch up a ton of orders and stay busy,” he said. “Let everyone else blaze a trail.”


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