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Steel sheet price increases in US receiving lukewarm reception

Houston — Last week's $40/st price increase for flat-rolled sheet steel products from US mills received a lukewarm reception from most players, with buying remaining limited, sources said Wednesday.

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The price hikes by most domestic mills have not pushed many hot-rolled coil offers outside of tradable ranges of $820-$840/st available prior to the moves. Still, one mini-mill and some integrated producers were heard to be offering HRC as high as $880/st.

The daily Platts TSI US HRC assessment dropped 25 cents to $841.50/st Wednesday, while the daily Platts TSI US cold-rolled coil assessment fell $2/st to $942.50/st.

Some mills have yet to adjust their offer prices higher, according to one service center source. An offer for HRC remained unchanged at $840/st week on week from one mill while a second mill increased its price to $870/st, he said. The first mill also held its CRC offers at $940/st while the second raised its price to $960/st, he added.

The source said he had not seen much change in lead times following the price hikes, with HRC lead times for the second week of November and CRC closer toward the end of the month.

The weekly average HRC lead time increased 0.2 weeks to 4.4 weeks on Wednesday, according to S&P Global Platts data. Average lead times for CRC remained unchanged at 5.5 weeks while hot-dipped galvanized lead times were at 5.8 weeks.

A buy-side source indicated he was paying $840/st, but admitted he was still not buying much material.

"We are laying low this week and working on our 2019 contracts with several mills," said a second service center source. He indicated his spot offers had not been raised following the increases and was wondering if they would materialize before the new year started.

The combined Platts TSI price index uses a volume-weighted average calculation -- according to TSI's standard -- to determine value on an ex-works Indiana basis.

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

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, keiron.greenhalgh@spglobal.com