US plate prices continue to slip on import pressure

US plate prices continue to slip on import pressure

After stabilizing briefly in early September, US domestic plate spot prices are once again falling under tremendous pressure from the import market.

Even with relatively strong US domestic plate mill order books, steady end-use demand levels from some major plate-consuming sectors such as energy and extended lead times that are anywhere from mid-October to mid-November (depending on the mill), mills are still having a hard time keeping domestic plate spot prices firm. While the US domestic spot price range of $48.00-$50.00 cwt. ($1,058-$1,102/mt or $960-$1,000/nt) ex-Midwest mill hasn’t moved in the last two weeks, orders being placed on the lower end of the range (and a few exceptionally large tonnage orders taking place just under) have become more prominent.

The main culprit of the softening US domestic plate market is import competition–both from futures bookings and a glut of arriving imports, some of which are being sold off at about $2.00-$3.00 cwt. ($44-$66/mt or $40-$60/nt) under current domestic prices. In August, 268,335 mt (license data) of imported plate arrived in the US (both cut-to-length and coiled plate cumulatively) according to US Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, compared to 203,555 mt (census data) arriving in July. Major sources of imported plate in the US in August include Russia (16,099 mt of coiled plate and 25,587 mt of cut-length plate), Mexico (12,279 mt of coiled plate and 11,543 mt of cut-length plate), Brazil (8,464 mt of cut-length plate) and Malaysia with 8,465 mt of cut-length plate arriving in August after no recordable levels of Malaysian plate arriving in the US in the last 12 months. As for September, 130,039 mt of plate imports have already landed in the US, as of just September 20.

Furthermore, not only are US domestic plate mills competing with lower-cost import plate currently arriving into the US, but current import offer prices to the US are also considerably below US domestic spot prices. Current Russian offers have fallen about $1.00 cwt. ($22/mt or $20/nt) on the low end since early September and now range from $43.00-$45.00 cwt. ($948-$992/mt or $860-$900/nt) DDP loaded truck in US Gulf ports. Additionally, Brazilian plate offer prices, which were largely in line (and even higher in some cases) than US domestic spot prices just a few weeks ago, have now become extremely attractive in the range of $46.50-$47.50 cwt. ($1,025-$1,047/mt or $930-$950/nt) DDP loaded truck in US Gulf ports. So although the US plate market’s end-use sectors continue to be stable, imports are likely to continue to pressure domestic spot prices for at least the next few weeks, which may again edge slightly lower by early October.


Now is the opportunity to shine for plastics companies

Now is the opportunity to shine for plastics companies

plastic companies
plastic companies


After years of half-hearted efforts, the U.S. government is finally getting serious about making automobiles more energy efficient.

Now is the plastics industry’s opportunity to shine.

Reaching the new goal for corporate average fuel economy — or CAFE — of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is going to take a tremendous effort.

To hit that number, automakers will be using a wide variety of new technologies — turbochargers and superchargers, stop-start systems, gasoline direct injection, better transmissions, and new computer controls.

Plastics can play a role in some of those efforts. But the major opportunity is simple: to make vehicles lighter.

There will be opportunities in vehicle interiors, exteriors, under the hood, and even in structural components.

As Detroit-based staff reporter Rhoda Miel points out in this week’s Page 1 story, Ford Motor Co. already has a goal to lighten cars by 200-700 pounds in the coming years. Other carmakers, in the United States and around the world, will have similar targets.

The plastics industry can start with proven technology — replacing metal in body panels and interiors, for example, and replacing glass in windows and sunroofs.

The auto industry will need help with this task. This is an opportunity for the best and brightest minds in plastics research and development to think outside the box.

Material suppliers and component makers will need to be working with auto designers to find new opportunities to consolidate plastic parts and make components lighter. A great example: the thinner-concept seats proposed by Johnson Controls Inc. and Faurecia SA.

Plastics have long had a friendly relationship with the auto industry. This week I stumbled across a 1943 newspaper feature story that quoted experts about the fantastic growth the plastics industry was about to experience. Even then, it was already an established fact that the auto industry was one of the most important markets for plastics.

Remember, this was before plastics had begun to make a dent in the packer

or medical markets.

In the nearly 70 years since that article was published, plastics have continued to make progress in the auto industry. But many opportunities have been missed along the way. Sometimes it’s been because consumers preferred other materials. Sometimes it’s been related to cost.

As I’ve noted before, resin and plastic component suppliers have been frustrated for many years by carmakers’ reluctance to get serious about improving fuel economy. Now the carmakers are on board, and consumers appear willing to put fuel economy higher on their list of transportation priorities.

Now — finally — is the time to unleash the plastics industry’s creative forces and help achieve — and surpass — the new government standards?

editor of  Plastics News

SANLIAN Mould is Manufacturer & supplier of a Fruits Box Mould

SANLIAN Mould is

Manufacturer & supplier of a Fruits Box Mould

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Plastic fruit box mold
Plastic fruit box mould

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