Steel pipe is separate from the steel market due to one major factor, steel pipe is price driven by coil versus general steel shape products such as angle, channel, and beam. Coil must be made from a slab (vs a billet) and that coil market drives the pricing in the steel market. Coil is used in the automotive, appliance and any other industry that uses sheet. Since coil may be in short supply or high supply it is the availability and price of coil that drives steel pipe pricing at any given moment.
Good question… We all know we can afford to buy small quantity inventories on A, B, and C items at higher prices and not get caught with overpriced inventory if the market recoils.
So the question is, will prices back off? Based on the price increases we received this week it doesn’t look that way. As we all wait on pins and needles to see the final 232 decisions, we can make a plan that we still need to move pipe.