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North American plate mills kick off another round of price hikes

Houston — North American plate mills have begun a second round of price increases, they said following the close of business Friday and into Monday morning.

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Nucor initiated the market action late Friday, telling customers it would be raising its plate prices by $40/st, effectively immediately for all new orders. It was Nucor's second plate increase announcement since July 26.

ArcelorMittal USA and SSAB Americas informed customers Monday that they also intend to raise plate prices by $40/st for all new orders, effective immediately. Evraz North America was also expected to come out with its own increase Monday, according to market sources.

US mill increases also prompted Canadian plate maker Algoma Steel to notified its US customers it would also be raising prices by $40/st for all new spot orders.

Mills had been offering higher prices following the first round of hikes at the end of July, buyers said Monday. But they said the higher offers had not yet resulted in increased transaction prices.

A buy-side source for a service center said the first increase served as a notice to the market that prices were at a bottom. The second increase will now apply to September production orders and will likely work in the short term. However, "after the mill shutdowns, demand is not strong enough for plate prices to continue to jump up. November and December will be tough months," said the source.

On Friday, a mill source said offers were higher for September production but spot activity remained slow. He suspected prices could settle near $740-$750/st on a delivered Midwest basis after the first increase but many buyers were still bidding in the $700-$710/st range.

The daily Platts TSI US plate price settled at $724.25/st on a delivered Midwest basis on Friday. It has been mostly unchanged since the first round of increases at the end of July.

-- Michael Fitzgerald, michael.fitzgerald@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Derek Sands, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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