A March Commodities Update; PVC, Copper, Steel

What’s happening:

  • Demand for copper, steel and PVC raw material is high
  • Inventories for materials are low
  • Covid-related supply chain disruptions remain

Here’s a March, 2021 commodities update. Please call your Merfish United rep for guidance on purchasing, especially as you consider your needs for the spring buying period. We’re able to help you manage your risk on these volatile commodity pipe products, and get you the pipe products you need with weekly deliveries.


  • Numerous chemical plants were shut down as state lost power last month, disrupting a global supply chain for consumer goods.
  • Due to supply chain disruptions after Winter Storm Uri on the Gulf Coast, where major PVC infrastructure is located, lower overall supply and high demand going into the spring season has caused prices to rise, with further increases expected in March and April.
  • Three out of four major PVC resin suppliers declared force majeure after Winter Storm Uri hit the Gulf Coast. Because of this, they began allocating inventories, which caused downstream manufacturers, including PVC pipe mills, to allocate products as well.
  • We’re on a PVC plumbing list price sheet dated 2/25/21.
  • Call your representative for PVC conduit pricing.


  • Copper continues it’s up-and-down volatility, as it closed at the following levels recently:
    3/10/21 – $4.04
    3/9/21 – $4.02
    3/8/21 – $4.10
    3/5/21 – $4.09
    3/4/21 – $3.99
    3/3/21 – $4.15
    3/2/21 – $4.23
    3/1/21 – $4.12

    [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]
  • Copper is primed to continue its upward trend, with global demand for the metal high during the Covid-19 recovery, and the need for copper in green energy initiatives.
  • We’re on a copper tube list price sheet dated 2/24/21.


  • China’s presence in the global steel market as a major consumer of raw material, and their continuing ability to produce finished products during Covid-19, has left them in a position to take larger foreign trade orders that create more demand for steel.
  • Costs for hot rolled steel coils, the material used by pipe mills, remain high due to an ongoing supply shortage and strong demand.
  • We have seen recent increases and list price changes to domestic and globally sourced welded steel pipe and seamless steel pipe.
  • We have seen recent increases and list price changes to threaded rod products and strut, and anticipate more increases in March.

Global Shipping

  • Winter storms and crammed ports in the U.S. add to disruptions of production and supplies during the pandemic.
  • Container ships, with imported pipe and raw materials, have been idling for periods of weeks as they wait to be unloaded at ports.
  • Covid-19 has had a global impact on manpower available at ports, container availability, and other freight needs in the supply chain.

How We Can Help:

As we face extreme volatility in the 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.

We keep our stock high, so 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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