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A December Update on Commodity Products; Steel, Copper and PVC

Learn more about upcoming price increases on Globally Sourced Steel Pipe and Strut products.

As the United States and the rest of the world recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply chain for commodity pipe products is being tested. Recent coronavirus surges in the U.S. have slowed recent reopenings, but news of upcoming vaccines are a good sign for future recovery. Find out how this is affecting price and availability.

Click on the categories below to jump right to that product, or keep scrolling for all information:

How We Can Help:

As you read more about the ongoing challenges we face in a volatile commodities market, remember that Merfish United’s business model is designed for low and unpredictable volume scenarios, exactly like the one we are in right now.  With us, wholesalers can buy a broad array of pipe products from one supplier, at low minimums for FFA.

Globally Sourced Steel Pipe

Demand for ocean shipping has maxed out carrier capacity, and carriers are turning bookings away for shipments out of Asia, a major source of Globally Sourced Steel Pipe. Containers are piling up at ports, with 40′ storage containers becoming unavailable. 20′ containers are available, but are in short supply and have doubled in price.

The Chinese coronavirus recovery appears to be in full swing with steelmakers in the country keeping their output high to meet demand. This has driven the the cost of iron ore to a seven-year-high. Even as Chinese steelmakers acquire all the iron ore they can, raw material availability is threatened by disruptions at two major mining hubs. A heavy rain season in Brazil could affect output, where mining companies are already holding back production for its own inventory. Ongoing maintenance in Australia’s biggest mining region is creating caps on total exports there too. While Chinese steelmakers contend with this, a major explosion at a South Korean steelmaker is also expected limit availability of steel available to pipe mills.

Because of these challenges, a price increase of 10% will be going into effect on Monday, December 7th. A new Globally Sourced Steel Pipe list price sheet dated 12/14/20 will be available on our website then. Please download the Excel sheet to enter your multiplier for individual list prices. You can also download a PDF sheet to print. To get your multiplier or place an order before the increase, please contact your Merfish United representative.

Domestic Steel Pipe

Domestic Steel Pipe mills have announced that due to continued escalating input costs, they will be immediately increasing the following products by the amounts below:

  • 1/2” – 4” Continuous Weld Pipe – 10%
  • 2” – 18” Grade B ERW Pipe – 10%
  • 1” – 8” Sprinkler Pipe – 10%

This is the seventh increase since August. We will be holding current price levels through Friday, 12/11 and implement a new list price sheet on Monday, 12/14.


Due to increased costs of raw materials, lack of availability, shipping costs and other supply chain interruptions, an 8% increase on Strut products will be going into effect Monday, 12/7. A new list price sheet is available on our website, dated 12/7.

PVC Conduit

PVC Conduit mills recently announced that due to increasing input costs, they will be raising prices on Monday, December 7th.

PVC resin, the raw material needed for pipe and tube manufacturing, continues to climb across the world. PVC has seen increases over the past seven months, due to increased demand and material shortages from Covid-related mining and production interruptions, as well as hurricane damage to important infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico. You can read more about those issues in this previous blog post.

Copper Tube

Copper Tube mills announced a price increase which went into effect on 11/23. Copper had hit a five-year-high of $3.29/LBS back on on 11/20. It closed at $3.51 on Friday, 12/4.

This is the longest stretch of monthly increases in almost ten years, with prices closing on on a seven-year-high. Pricing looks to continue it’s trend up as risks of supply disruptions in key mining countries threaten the supply chain, along with increased demand from manufacturing sectors as a full recovery becomes inevitable.

Metal Conduit

Domestic mills announced increases on 11/30 due to steel mills raising prices on almost a daily basis. This increase is now in effect.

Update 12/11: As previously mentioned, metal conduit mills have been experiencing rising costs and shortages on raw materials on an almost daily basis. Because of this, they have announced an increase going into effect on Monday, 12/24.

PVC Pipe

As previously mentioned, PVC resin increases have caused PVC Pipe mills to implement increases multiple times over the past half year.

Remember, We Can Help You Now

Use us to help manage your inventory and buy what you need, when you need it. Mix-and-match Copper Tube with Steel Pipe, PVC Pipe, Conduit, Strut & Rod to make our low weight minimums on your next weekly order.

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