“Our preferred clients get a lot more value from us, other than being able to supply a piece of steel.” 7 Secrets Your Steel Suppliers Won’t Tell You, Adam Osborn
Plate prices have reached their highest in almost 7-years. Tight supplies is the main cause of the price increase. Prices haven’t been this high since mid-October 2011.
Lead times are between eight and 12 weeks.
At this point plate prices are higher than hot-rolled coil, although last November’s prices – before Section 232 – were nearly equal.
It’s possible the price difference has been caused by stronger demand for plate than coil. In addition, there has been a larger drop in plate imports versus sheet imports.
US Commerce Department data shows a 26% drop in hot-rolled coil imports from 2016 to 2017. From the same time period, plate imports dropped 34%.
It’s been more difficult to replace plate import suppliers affected by Section 232. Also, it takes domestic plate mills more time to increase output, in comparison to sheet mills.
Domestic supplies may decrease at both sheet mills and plate mills because of outages. But plate mills seem to be reducing capacity, in contrast to sheet mills who are increasing capacity.
If trends continue, then plate mills might increase prices. But if import tariffs are removed for Canada and Mexico, then prices could come down.
Domestic mills have benefited from the Section 232 tariffs. Although they will be careful not to over play their advantage with pricing.
It is best to go with a proven expert in their field.
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